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BLOWBACK 




America s Recruitment of Nazis 
and Its Effects on the Cold War 


Christopher Simpson 


1 IWI Weidenfeld & Nicolson 
New York 





Copyright © 1988 by Christopher Simpson 

All rights reserved. No reproduction of this book in whole 
or in part or in any form may be made without written 
authorization of the copyright owner. 

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, New York 
A Division of Wheatland Corporation 
10 East 53rd Street 
New York, N.Y. 10022 

Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd. 

Due to limitations of space, permissions and credits appear on page 381. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
Simpson, Christopher. 

Blowback : America’s recruitment of Nazis and its effects on the Cold 
War / Christopher Simpson. — 1st. ed. 
p. cm. 

Bibliography: p. 

Includes index. 

ISBN 1-555-84106-6 

1. War criminals—Germany—Recruiting—History—20th century. 

2. World War. 1939-1945—Collaborationists—Recruiting. 3. Secret 
service—United States—History—20th century. 4. Spies—Europe— 

Recruiting—History—20th century. 5. Brain drain—Germany— 

History—20th century. 6. United States—Emigration and 
immigration—History—20th century. 7. World politics—1945- . 

8. National socialists. I. Title. II. Title: America’s recruitment of 
Nazis and its effects on the Cold War. 

D804.G4S54 1988 

940.5373—dcl9 87-22516 

Manufactured in the United States of America 

Designed by Irving Perkins Associates 

First Edition 


10 987654321 



For my mother and father 




Acknowledgments 


My special gratitude goes to the Freedom of Information Act offi¬ 
cers, archivists, and librarians without whose generous professional 
assistance this project would not have been possible. 

The following institutions and their staffs deserve special men¬ 
tion: National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.; 
Berlin Document Center, Berlin, Germany; Staatsanwaltschaft bei 
dem Landgericht Wiesbaden, Federal Republic of Germany; Na¬ 
tional Archives and Records Service, Suitland, Maryland; New York 
Public Library; John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts; 
Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri; Center for Mili¬ 
tary History, Washington, D.C.; McKeldin Library, University of 
Maryland, College Park, Maryland; Butler Library, Columbia Uni¬ 
versity, New York City; Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 
Stanford, California; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Chi¬ 
cago Public Library; Special Forces Museum, Fort Bragg, North 
Carolina; Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, California, and 
Vienna, Austria; RFE/RL Library, New York; Washington Post; 
Group Research Reports, Washington, D.C.; Association of Former 
Intelligence Officers, McLean, Virginia; and the U.S. Army Intelli¬ 
gence and Security Command, Fort Meade, Maryland. 

My personal thanks to the following people, who helped out in 
one way or another when the chips were down: Richard Barnet, 
Peter Carey, William Corson, Konrad Ege, Benjamin Ferencz, John 
Friedman, Ron Goldfarb, John Herman, Elizabeth Holtzman, Lisa 
Klug, Jonathan Marshall, Marcel Ophuls, David Oshinsky, Con¬ 
stance Paige, John Prados, Fletcher Prouty, Marcus Raskin, Eli 

vii 



viii Acknowledgments 


Rosenbaum, Allan Ryan, Jr., Gail Ross, Thomas Simpson, Robert 
Stein, and several others who must remain nameless. 

Thanks, most of all, to my wife, Susan, whose help was essential 
in the completion of this manuscript. 

Christopher Simpson 
Washington, D.C., 1988 



Contents 


Prologue xi 

1. A Discreet Silence 3 

2. Slaughter on the Eastern Front 12 

3. “Chosen, Rare Minds” 27 

4. The Man at Box 1142 40 

5. The Eyes and Ears 52 

6. CROWCASS 66 

7. “I . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 80 

8. Bloodstone 96 

9. “See That He Is Sent to the U.S. . . .” 107 

10. Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 125 

11. Guerrillas for World War III 138 

12. “Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 156 

13. Ratlines 176 

14. Pipelines to the United States 199 

15. The Politics of “Liberation” 217 

16. Brunner and von Bolschwing 246 



Contents 


The End of “Liberation” 

264 

Source Notes 

291 

Selected Bibliography 

357 

Selected Archival Sources 

369 

Index 

383 



Prologue 


The press briefing room at the U.S. Department of Justice in Wash¬ 
ington, D.C., is designed as a modern-day lions’ den, with the de¬ 
partment’s spokesperson cast in the role of Daniel. The focus of the 
design is the lectern at the center of the room, which is filled with 
serpentine microphones and wires when a big story is about to be 
announced. The lions of the press are arranged along broad rising 
steps like the seats in an amphitheater. 

On August 16, 1983, U.S. government Nazi hunter Allan Ryan 
strode into that briefing room to announce an unprecedented 600- 
page report on the activities of a certain Klaus Barbie (alias Klaus 
Altmann, alias Becker, alias Merten, etc.) and on that one man’s 
relationship to the American intelligence agencies more than thirty 
years ago. 

“I didn’t really know how much of a bombshell this would be,” 
Ryan recalled later. “I was so immersed in the details of the investi¬ 
gation that I wasn’t quite sure what the reaction would be.” 1 When 
he arrived, he found more than 100 reporters crammed into the 
briefing room, about two dozen cameras complete with newscast¬ 
ers representing every major television organization in the world, 
hangers-on of every description, and so many microphones clipped 
to the lectern that they had to be rearranged before he could find 
a place for his notes. It was, one press corps veteran commented, 
the biggest crowd to turn out for a news briefing since the stormy 
investigations of Watergate days. 

The Justice Department had printed up the 200-page Barbie 
study, along with about 400 pages of documentary exhibits, and 
distributed it on schedule at the event. Ryan made a short presenta- 


xi 



xii Prologue 


tion of the study’s conclusions about fifteen minutes after the re¬ 
porters had those books in their hands. 

In a nutshell, the Justice Department’s study acknowledged that 
a U.S. intelligence agency known as the Army Counterintelligence 
Corps (CIC) had recruited Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo officer 
Klaus Barbie for espionage work in early 1947; that the CIC had 
hidden him from French war crimes investigators; and that it had 
then spirited him out of Europe through a clandestine “ratline”— 
escape route—run by a priest who was himself a fugitive from war 
crimes charges. That was point number one. 

Point number two, on the other hand, was that the CIC agents 
who had recruited Barbie “had no reliable indication ... that he was 
suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity [until much 
later],” that Barbie was the only such war criminal that the United 
States had protected, and that he was the only such fugitive from 
justice that the United States had smuggled out of Europe. The 
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in particular, was given a clean 
bill of health in the Barbie case and, by implication, in other inci¬ 
dents in which the agency is alleged to have had traffic with fugitive 
war criminals. 

Point number one was true enough. Point number two was, and 
is, false. 

At the time of the news conference Ryan stated point number 
two with what appeared to be genuine conviction. His extensive 
investigation had convinced him that “no other case was found 
where a suspected Nazi war criminal was placed in the ratline, or 
where the ratline was used to evacuate a person wanted by either 
the United States government or any of its postwar allies,” he said 
carefully, as the television cameras recorded his words. 

He noted, it is true, that his investigation had been limited to the 
Barbie affair, so he could not be certain that some other case might 
not have escaped his scrutiny. His mild qualification on that point 
was almost entirely ignored, however, by both the press and Ryan 
himself in the weeks that followed. 

United Press International, for example, headlined prober: bar¬ 
bie the EXCEPTION, NOT RULE, and quoted Ryan as indicating that 
the Justice Department’s search had “uncovered no evidence [that] 
there was any other former Nazi that the U.S. shielded from jus¬ 
tice.” ABC TV’s Nightline program featured Ryan on its broadcast 
that evening. Ryan said that the United States had “innocently 
recruited Barbie, unaware of his role in France . . . [and that] the 



Prologue xiii 


Barbie case was not typical.” Under Ted Koppel’s questioning, 
Ryan expanded on the theme: It was “very likely there were no 
other Nazi officials who were relied upon as Klaus Barbie was 
. . . [and] this closes the record.” 2 

Since the Barbie case broke open, however, there has been a 
chain of new discoveries of Nazis and SS men protected by and, in 
some cases, brought to the United States by U.S. intelligence agen¬ 
cies. One, for example, was SS officer Otto von Bolschwing, who 
once instigated a bloody pogrom in Bucharest and served as a senior 
aide to Adolf Eichmann. According to von Bolschwing’s own state¬ 
ment in a secret interview with U.S. Air Force investigators, in 1945 
he volunteered his services to the Army CIC, which used him for 
interrogation and recruitment of other former Nazi intelligence 
officers. Later he was transferred to the CIA, which employed him 
as a contract agent inside the Gehlen Organization, a group of 
German intelligence officers that was being financed by the agency 
for covert operations and intelligence gathering inside Soviet-held 
territory. The CIA brought the SS man to the United States in 
1954. 3 

Following the revelation of the von Bolschwing affair, new evi¬ 
dence turned up concerning U.S. recruitment of still other former 
SS men, Nazis, and collaborators. According to army records ob¬ 
tained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), SS Ober- 
sturmfiihrer Robert Verbelen admitted that he had once been sen¬ 
tenced to death in absentia for war crimes, including the torture of 
two U.S. Air Force pilots. And, he said, he had long served in Vienna 
as a contract spy for the U.S. Army, which was aware of his back¬ 
ground. 

Other new information has been uncovered concerning Dr. Kurt 
Blome, who admitted in 1945 that he had been a leader of Nazi 
biological warfare research, a program known to have included 
experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps. Blome , how¬ 
ever, was acquitted of crimes against humanity at a trial in 1947 and 
hired a few years later by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps to conduc t 
a new round of biological weapons research . Then there is the 
business of Blome’s colleague Dr. Arthur Rudolnh . who was ac¬ 
cused in sworn testimony at Nuremberg of committing atrocities at 
the Nazis’ underground rocket works near Nordhausen but was 
later give n U.S. citiz enship and a major role in the U.S. mis sile 
program inspife of that record. Each of these instances 4 —and there 
were~ofEers as well—casts substantial doubt on the Justice Depart- 



xiv Prologue 

merit’s assertion that what happened to Barbie was an “exception.” 

And in the Barbie affair itself an independent review of the de¬ 
partment’s evidence raises considerable doubt whether one of its 
most important conclusions is justified—namely, that the American 
agents who recruited that particular Nazi had no reason to suspect 
that he had been responsible for crimes against humanity. 

In fact, those agents did have evidence to indicate that Barbie 
had committed serious crimes against innocent people. The French 
government had submitted a statement to the United Nations War 
Crimes Commission as early as August 1944—almost three years 
before Barbie was recruited—charging him with “murder and mas¬ 
sacres, systematic terrorism and execution of hostages.” These ac¬ 
cusations led to repeated notices concerning Barbie in U.S. arrest 
lists of fugitive war criminals, beginning in 1945 and continuing 
through the late 1940s. Confirmation that the CIC knew that Bar¬ 
bie had been Gestapo police chief in Lyons may be found scattered 
throughout his CIC dossier. 

The question of what the CIC knew of Barbie’s wartime career 
is of considerable significance, for upon it hangs an unspoken prem¬ 
ise of the Justice Department report—that is, that Americ, a n - re- 
cruit ment of former Nazis or Gest apo o fficers was justified by the.. 
pressing “national security” n eeds of the day , as long as the U.S. 
agent who recruited him didnot know of ^particular atrocities com¬ 
mitted by that individual Nazi. Barbie’s recruiters, the govern¬ 
ment asserts, made a “defensible” decision, and those who reject it 
are arguing from a “visceral” revulsion against the Nazis’ Holo¬ 
caust, rather than from a “pragmatic” point of view that “looks to 
the future.” 5 

The practical effect of the Justice Department’s premise, if ac¬ 
cepted, is to provide a ready-made excuse—namely, “We just didn’t 
know”—for any U.S. official who chose to protect Nazi criminals for 
their supposed intelligence value. 

The fact is, U.S. intelligence agencies did know—or had good 
reason to suspect—that many contract agents that they hired dur¬ 
ing the cold war had committed crimes against humanity on behalf 
of the Nazis. The CIA, the State Department, and U.S. Army intelli¬ 
gence each created special programs for the specific purpose of 
bringing selected former Nazis and collaborators to the United 
States. Other projects protected such people by placing them on 
U.S. payrolls overseas. 

The government employed these men and women for their ex- 



Prologue xv 


pertise in propaganda and psychological warfare, for work in 
American laboratories, and even as special guerrilla troops for de¬ 
ployment inside the USSR in the midst of a nuclear war. CIA re¬ 
cruiting in Europe in particular often focused on Russians, Ukraini¬ 
ans, Latvians, and other Eastern European nationalists who had 
collaborated with the Nazis during Germany’s wartime occupation 
of their homelands. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of such re¬ 
cruits were SS veterans; some had been officers of the bloody Si- 
cherheitsdienst (SD), the Nazi party’s security service. 

Most of the U.S. government has given every indication that it 
hopes that queries concerning U.S. intelligence agencies’ use of 
these Nazis will fade away. But as each new bit of evidence accumu¬ 
lates, the questions about this practice become more insistent and 
more disturbing. 




BLOWBACK 




CHAPTER ONE 


A Discreet Silence 


The basic rationale U.S. policymakers used after 1945 to justify 
employment of former Nazis and collaborators was the possibility— 
no, the imminence —of the outbreak of a new war between the 
United States and the USSR. 

The American anticipation of a cataclysm was reinforced by the 
East-West geopolitical confrontation in Europe and the Mideast in 
the first years after World War II; by the shortage of reliable infor¬ 
mation about actual conditions in the east; and not infrequently by 
religious do ct rine that asserted that the Communists were Satan’s 
army on earfhTSuch perceptions varied from individual to individ¬ 
ual, of course, but were by no means a fringe phenomenon. 

The actual balance of forces in Europe during the decade follow¬ 
ing 1945, however, meant that neither the United States nor the 
USSR was capable of unilaterally imposing its will on the other 
through military force alone. The Soviets’ advantage in troop 
strength and geographical position gave it powerful leverage in 
Eastern Europe, America’s atomic bomb and economic wealth not¬ 
withstanding. 

Given that situation. President Harry Truman ordered a program 
of psychological warfare, covert operations, and intelligence gath¬ 
ering aimed at the USSR and its satellites that began as early as 1945 
and significantly accelerated in the years that followed. Recently 
declassified records make clear that by 1948 Truman had approved 


3 




4 BLOWBACK 


a multimillion-dollar program initiated by his National Security 
Council (NSC) secretly to finance and arm “underground resistance 
movements, guerrillas and refugee liberations [sic] groups . . . 
against hostile foreign states,” meaning the USSR and its Eastern 
European satellites. 2 

Many of these “refugee liberations groups” were, in fact, extreme 
right-wing exile organizations that had collaborated with the Nazis 
during the German occupation of their homelands. Some of their 
leaders were major war criminals who had directed massacres and 
deportations of Jews during the Holocaust. Despite this back¬ 
ground, U.S. clandestine operations experts convinced the National 
Security Council and other senior policymakers that U.S. sponsor¬ 
ship of these organizations, and of their German agent handlers, 
would yield substantial benefits for the United States. 

Exile organizations such as the Natsional’no-Trudovoi Soyuz 
(NTS, Russian Solidarists) and the various factions of the Ukrainska 
Povstancha Armia (UPA, or Ukrainian Insurgent Army) claimed to 
have large networks of sympathizers behind Soviet lines. German 
intelligence specialists like General Reinhard Gehlen, who had run 
these networks during the war, asserted that a modest infusion of 
American money and arms could produce secure organizations of 
espionage agents, saboteurs, and strong-arm specialists inside the 
East bloc countries and in the teeming refugee camps that then 
dotted western Germany. The idea, in a nutshell, was secretly to 
underwrite the work of these groups in much the same way that the 
Allies had backed resistance forces inside German-occupied terri¬ 
tory during the war. 

Contrary to the promises once made inside secret U.S. govern¬ 
ment councils that the use of such persons would be of practical 
benefit to this country, the truth is that these Nazi utilization pro¬ 
grams have frequently been disasters, even when all ethical consid¬ 
erations are laid aside. Their behind-the-lines spy teams are now 
known to have been largely nonexistent, and those that did exist 
were laced with Soviet double agents. Instead of building a rela¬ 
tively airtight anti-Communist spy service, the same old boy circles 
used to recruit former Nazis ended up giving the USSR a relatively 
easy way to penetrate legitimate U.S. intelligence gathering on 
Soviet military capabilities and intentions. U.S.-sponsored secret 
warfare campaigns employing these recruits failed consistently, 
leading tc the arrests, imprisonments, and sometimes executions of 
thousands of Eastern Europeans. 



A Discreet Silence 5 


The government's use of Nazis a nd c ollaborators injntelligenee 
programs l ias also left a mark orT Efe imthe TJnitecf States itself. This 
impactTTlvhat is known in spy jargon as “blowback," meaning 
unexpected—and neg ative—e ffects at home that result from covert 
operati ons oversea ^7~^ 

CJftenblowback from CIA clandestine work abroad has been no 
more (and no less) alarming than, say, a fraudulent news report 
planted in a European magazine that later shows up in U.S. publica¬ 
tions as fact. Sometimes, however, the problem has become far 
more serious. In a case revealed here for the first time, an organiza¬ 
tion of former SS and German military intelligence experts pro¬ 
vided false information that nearly led to World War III. In another 
instance Senator Joseph McCarthy employed a secret U.S. espio¬ 
nage squad made up in part of Nazi collaborators to gather slander¬ 
ous information used to smear political opponents. 

Despite these negative consequences, the existence of U.S. oper¬ 
ations employing ex-Nazis has remained a carefully kept secret in 
the West. There has been a cert ain convergence of powerful inter- 
ests, rather than the great conspiracy that some critics have alleged, 
t hat has kept this story buried . The American government, for 
example, has not been inclined to publicize the men and women 
involved in sensitive “national security" missions. Many U.S. docu¬ 
ments concerning these programs have been systematically purged 
from the files and destroyed, and the majority of the records that 
remain are still classified above “secret." Most of the men who put 
together the U.S. program—including the CIA's former chief of 
clandestine operations Frank Wisner and his boss, CIA Director 
Allen Dulles—are dead. Most of those who are still alive refuse to 
talk. 

Until recently the U.S. media could usually be counted on to 
maintain a discreet silence about emigre leaders with Nazi back¬ 
grounds accused of working for the CIA. According to declassified 
records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, several 
mass media organizations in this country—at times working m di- 

cold war myths that Transformed c ertain exiled NazU colla borators 
oFWoHdAVarTTmto “freedom fighj^s^andheroes j)f the renewed 
s j^^le^jSmstl^m munism. 3 The general public, for the most 
part, has had little reason to suspect that anything was amiss. 

But the facts concerning government protection of selected for¬ 
mer Nazis and collaborators cannot remain buried forever. Smug- 



6 BLOWBACK 


gling collaborators into the United States for clandestine work dur¬ 
ing the cold war was never as easy to keep hidden as it might seem. 
The entry of former senior Nazi Foreign Office official Gustav 
Hilger is a case in point. Senior U.S. State Department officials, 
including George F. Kennan, intervened personally on the Ger¬ 
man’s behalf, leaving behind a trail of telegrams. 4 Then secret visas 
had to be arranged and the Immigration and Naturalization Service 
(INS) had to be quietly informed, producing still more records. 
Transport for Hilger aboard a U.S. military aircraft was necessary 
to get him out of Germany. Later new identification and top 
se cret s ecurit y clearan ce had to be obtained for Hilger before he 
could begin regular work in Washington, D.C. 

Despite the fragmented nature of the evidence left by these 
activities, it is now possible to reassemble much of the story of 
Hilger and other collaborators. The careers—and the explana¬ 
tions—of the specific American leaders who protected such men 
and put them to work can be brought to light. Equally important, 
it is now possible to begin to trace the otherwise invisible imprint 
that the government’s secret sponsorship of former Nazis and col¬ 
laborators has left on the United States. 

America’s own initial plan to enlist the brains of Nazi Germany 
concentrated on scientists, declassified U.S. Army records show. 
Some American intelligence officials were clearly aware from the 
very beginning that they were recruiting former Nazis, including 
SS officers and others alleged to have personally participated in 
executions of concentration camp inmates. Even so, top Pentagon 
officers believed that these Germans could be put to work in the 
then continuing war with Japan and the emerging conflict with the 
USSR. A highly secret U.S. military in telligence coordinating center 
advis ed the IT S. Army to alter itsdosiierson those scientists sojis_ 
to brin~g~tHem into th iscduntry with~sup posedrv~cIean wart ime 
records. The United~5tates soon”sfopped ‘Treating a dead Nazi 
horse,” as Bosquet Wev, executive officer of the Pentagon’s intelli¬ 
gence coordinating office, put it, and began importing German 
chemical warfare experts, submarine specialists, and the scientists 
who had once built Germany’s rockets using slave labor from Nazi 
concentration camps. 5 

At about the same time these experts were conscripted, the 
United States also began a small, extremely secret program to enlist 
German espionage and covert operations specialists at an American 



A Discreet Silence 7 


camp for high-ranking Axis POWs near Wiesbaden. There the chief 
of U.S. Army intelligence in Europe, General Edwin Sibert; gave 
the go-ahead to a gaunt former Wehrmacht (German army) general 
named Reinhard Gehlen to construct a new espionage organization 
made up of German experts on the USSR. Sibert, in wh at was at the 
time a cl ear violation of P resident Fran klin D7*Roos e\ , elt_s o rders 
conc erning den azification of Ger ma ny, assumed personal res ponsi¬ 
bility'" fo r theT pr oject^ Before the 1940s were out, Sibert and 
Gehlen’s small seed had grown into an organization upon which the 
Americans depended for much of what they knew about Eastern 
Europe and the Soviet Union. 6 

With Gehlen’s group at its core, former Nazis and collaborators 
went on to play an important, though largely unnoticed, role in the 
interlocked evolutions of the cold war and of American intelligence 
capabilities. Gehlen provided U.S. Army intelligence and later the^ 
CIA with many o T^the ~dTre^reports th at were use d to justify in ¬ 
c reased U.S. military budgets and intensified U.S./US SR hostilities. 
He exaggerated the Soviet militaryThreat in EuropeTsays the CIA’s 
former chief analyst on Soviet military capabilities Victor Mar- 
chetti, 7 in order to ensure further protection and funding for his 
U.S.-financed operation. The German intelligence group, as it turns 
out, usually received at least part of any new budget appropriations 
that accompanied escalation of the conflict with the USSR. 

At about the time the Gehlen organization was getting on its feet, 
the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) gradually moved 
from investigating underground Nazis for war crimes prosecution 
to using some of these same Nazis and collaborators to track Com¬ 
munists. By 1948 the CIC found itself in a sub rosa bureaucratic 
battle with both the U.S. Air Force and the then newly founded CIA 
over funding in the spy war against the Russians. One of the most 
valuable prizes in this intra-American conflict was control of several 
thousand former Waffen SS soldiers and officers whom the army 
had hired and equipped for use in a guerrilla war against the USSR. 
The army ended up actually integrating these SS troops into U.S. 
nuclear strategy.* 

*Since the end of the war a protracted debate has taken place in West Germany concern¬ 
ing the character of the Waffen SS or “Armed SS” and its relationship to the rest of Himmler’s 
police apparatus. Former members of the Waffen SS sometimes glorify the role of the group 
as a select type of Marine Corps that was not, they contend, involved in war crimes or crimes 
against humanity. 

The Waffen SS originated in 1940 as specially trained and indoctrinated German troops 
under SS leader Himmler’s command who were assigned special tasks ranging from duty as 


8 BLOWBACK 


Policy concerning clandestine use of former Nazi collaborators 
during the early cold war years was shaped by a series of National 
Security Council directives and intelligence projects sponsored by 
the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department, then under the 
leadership of George F. Kennan, according to records discovered 
recently in U.S. State Department archives. Kennan was at the time 
assigned the task of internal policy oversight of all U.S. clandestine 
operations abroad. His initiatives—along with those of Allen Dulles, 
Frank Wisner, and a number of other latter-day CIA executives— 
helped convince Truman’s NSC to approve a comprehensive pro¬ 
gram of covert operations that were explicitly modeled on the 
Vlasov Army, an anti-Communist emigre campaign created by the 
SS and the Nazi Foreign Office during World War II. 8 Scholars and 
propagandists who had once collaborated in formulating the Nazis’ 
political warfare program were brought into the United States to 
provide brains for the new operation. 

Wisner, the dynamic director of the CIA’s clandestine operations 
directorate, gradually gathered many of the threads of earlier Nazi 
utilization efforts into agency hands. Wisner believed in the tre¬ 
mendous espionage potential of the Eastern European emigre or¬ 
ganizations, their value as propagandists and agents of influence, 
and the unique advantages of using soldiers who had no provable 
ties to the U.S. government for certain particularly s ensitive mis - 
sion^ i ncluding assa ssinations. More than that, Wisner was con¬ 
vinced that Communist ruRTwould be soon overthrown in Eastern 
Europe and possibly in the USSR itself. America was already at war. 


Hitler’s personal bodyguards to serving as custodians and executioners at concentration 
camps. As the war proceeded, many were placed under the operational command of the 
Wehrmacht (the German army), and were often employed in brutal antipartisan strike force 
operations. By 1944 the increasingly desperate Nazis had begun conscripting men, including 
many foreign-born collaborators, into these previously all-volunteer divisions. These draftees 
have since argued, in some cases truthfully, that they did not participate in the mass murders 
for which the SS has become infamous. Therefore, they say, they should not bear the same 
burden of guilt as other members of that group. 

The International Tribunal at Nuremberg concluded that the entire SS (including the 
Waffen SS) was a criminal organization. “[T]he shooting of unarmed prisoners of war was the 
general practice in some Waffen SS divisions,” the Nuremberg judgment reads. “[They] 
were responsible for many massacres and atrocities in occupied territories, such as the 
massacres at Oradour and Lidice. . . . [They] supplied personnel for the Einsatzgruppen 
[murder commandos], had command over the concentration camp guards,” and operated 
under the direct authority of SS headquarters in anti-Jewish operations. The tribunal made 
an explicit exception, however, for those individuals who “were drafted into [SS] member¬ 
ship ... in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no 
[war] crimes.” 



A Discreet Silence 9 

as he saw it, and there was no time to quibble over the pasts of its 
new foot soldiers. 

Wisner’s clandestine campaigns were originally aimed at the 
USSR and its satellites. Before the decade was out, however, the 
American people also became an i mportant target for CIA propa¬ 
ganda programs. It is at that point, over the winter of 1951-1952, 
that the blowback from the CIA’s overseas operations reached a 
new and more dangerous stage. According to National Security 
Council records, Wisner began large-scale programs designed to 
bring thousands of anti-Communist exiles to the United States as a 
means of rewarding them for secret operations overseas and to 
train others for guerrilla warfare against East bloc countries. The 
CIA secretly subsidized the work of right-wing refugee relief organ¬ 
izations aiding such immigrants, including some groups with clear 
ties to extreme nationalist and Fascist organizations in Europe. 9 
The agency simultaneously funneled millions of dollars into adver¬ 
tising and staged media events inside the United States during the 
same period, with support for these overseas “refugee liberation” 
projects as a primary theme. 

Tens of thousands of Eastern European refugees emigrated to 
the United States throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. Clearly the 
overwhelming majority of these new immigrants have proved 
themselves to be valuable citizens, who have made great contribu¬ 
tions to science, culture, medicine, sports, and the American work 
force as well as to the defense of values like democracy and national 
pride. But just as any large group of humans contains some crimi¬ 
nals, so, too, did this emigration. The difference this time was that 
of the criminals who did come, many were experienced right-wing 
political activists who were highly organized and blessed with the 
patronage of the CIA. 

Shortly before the presidential election of 1952 the agency 
sharply expanded its media operations with a multimillion-dollar 
publicity campaign inside the United States designed to legitimize 
expanded U.S. cold war operations in Europe. 10 This program was 
guided by a theory known as “liberationism,” and an important 
part of that strategy held that certain exiled Fascist leaders left over 
from World War II should be regarded as democratic “freedom 
fighters” against the USSR. The CIA’s propaganda campaign inside 
the United States was clearly illegal; but the agency concealed its 
ties to the effort, and the enterprise prospered. 

Right-wing emigre organizations, which had once been little 



10 BLOWBACK 


more than instruments of German (and later U.S.) espionage agen¬ 
cies, began to take on a distinct life and authority of their own 
during the cold war, particularly inside America’s large Eastern 
European immigrant communities. Through organizations such as 
the CIA-funded Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN), 
certain Ukrainian fraternal groups, and the Latvian Daugavas 
Vanagi alliance (each of which included in positions of leadership 
persons whom U.S. investigators have alleged to be Axis war crimi¬ 
nals 11 ), these extreme-right-wing exiles gradually expanded their 
reach in American affairs. 

Although never the mainstream voices for their particular na¬ 
tionality groups, these organizations and others like them suc¬ 
ceeded in creating genuine power bases on the far right of the U.S. 
political spectrum. Before the decade of the 1950s was out, the 
activities of extremist European emigre organizations combined 
with indigenous American anticommunism to produce seriousl y 
negative effects on U.S. foreign policy an d dom estic affairs under 
b'oth~flepubIican ancTDembcfatic~a dminist rations. By 1959 these 
exite^rbupsTTad articulate delenders inside the staff of the National 
Security Council and had won a measure of influence on Capitol 
Hill. Observing their impact on U.S. policy toward the USSR and 
Eastern Europe had become, as columnist Walter Lippmann wrote, 
“a morbid experience.” 12 ~ * ~~ 

In short, U.S. clandestine operations employing Nazis never did 
produce the results that were desired when they were initiated, but 
they did contribute to the influence of some of the most reactionary 
trends in American political life. This lesson has increased in signifi¬ 
cance over the years. More recent U.S. interventions abroad have 
facilitated the entry into America of extremist and even terrorist 
emigre organizations that have subsequently gained political foot¬ 
holds in ethnic communities in this country, often through the use 
of violence and intimidation. The influence of Bay of Pigs veteran s 
i n Ciiban -Ame rican enclave s or of the former Saigon p olice among 
S outheasFAsTan refugee s comes to mind in this regard. “Blowback” 
of this type has not been limited to cold war Nazi utilization opera¬ 
tions; it is a much more widespread characteristic of the CIA’s 
emigre operations than is generally recognized and one w h ich de¬ 
serves further study . '~ 

The pages thatTollow focus in detail on one example of blowback: 
the Nazi utilization operations during the cold war and their influ¬ 
ence on America. Why did the U.S. government decide to employ 


A Discreet Silence 11 


war criminals? Why did it admit such persons to this country? To 
understand the answers, it is first of all necessary to look at what is 
meant by the term war crimes and to trace back to their roots the 
careers of some of the men and women who committed those 
iniquities. 



CHAPTER TWO 


Slaughter on the Eastern Front 


“Crimes against humanity , ” states the Allied Control Council Law 
No. 10 of 1945, are “atrocities and offenses, including but not lim¬ 
ited to murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, impris¬ 
onment, torture, rape, or other inhuman acts committed against 
any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or reli¬ 
gious grounds. . . 

This statute, together with earlier joint declarations by Allied 
governments concerning war crimes, became the formal founda¬ 
tion upon which the Nazis and their collaborators were tried after 
World War II. The Control Council law as written is comprehen¬ 
sive. It also includes prohibition of war crimes —including murder 
or deportation of civilian populations by occupying armies, plun¬ 
der, killing of POWs or hostages, wanton destruction of cities or 
towns, etc.—and crimes against peace, meaning the launching of an 
invasion or waging an aggressive war in violation of treaties. Pun¬ 
ishment for those convicted under the law range from deprivation 
of civil rights to the death penalty, depending upon the circum¬ 
stances of the crime. 1 

While this declaration prohibits specific acts by individuals, it also 
implicitly acknowledges that the genocide and slavery p erpetr ated 
by Nazi Germany required a high degree~o f coordTnatron 7Criminal 
culpabili Ly^^iHfly^extendFtbTEe^dmTnistrative apparatus of the 
SS, to the Nazi party, and to the chiefs of German industry that 


12 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 13 


profited from concentration camp labor. It includes pro-Faseist 
newspaper publishers who promoted racial hatred in the pages of 
their publications and the senior officers of Axis ministries and local 
governments that carried through the day-to-day business of mass 
murder and persecution. 

This text uses the term war crimes to refer to those activities 
banned by Allied Control Council Law No. 10, such as murder, 
torture, deportation, or persecution on the basis of race or religion. 
A “war criminal,” logically, is one who has committed those crimes. 
But as is well known, many persons directly responsible for the 
Holocaust against the Jews, the mass murder by starvation of mil¬ 
lions of Soviet prisoners of war, and other atrocities have escaped 
and never been tried for their deeds. Therefore, any serious discus¬ 
sion of who can properly be called a “war criminal” must of neces¬ 
sity consider all the historical evidence of what took place during 
the war and the Holocaust—not just the relatively small number of 
cases that were formally tried before the International Tribunal at 
Nuremberg or other courts. The term war criminal , as used here, 
is narrowly defined, but it goes beyond simply those persons who 
have been convicted in a court of law. It applies to the responsible 
officials of the political parties, police organizations, or wartime Axis 
governments whose records of terror, extermination, and anti-Sem¬ 
itism are beyond dispute; to the individuals who voluntarily par¬ 
ticipated in genocide or mass murders; and, in a small number of 
cases, to propagandists or publicists who actively promoted perse¬ 
cution on the basis of race or religion. 

To understand how certain people in the pages that follow es¬ 
caped punishment for their crimes, it is necessary to look briefly at 
one of the most prominent featu res of the Nazi politicaTph ilosophy: 
extreme anti communism and particularly fanatic hatred of the 
USSR. " “ “ ~ 

The slaughter that followed the German attack on the Soviet 
Union in June 1941 is without equal in world history. Next to the 
Nazis' operation of the anti-Jewish extermination centers at Tre- 
blinka, Sobibor, Birkenau, and elsewhere, the most terrible crimes 
of the entire war took place in name of anticommunism in the 
German-occupied territories on the eastern front. Civilian casual¬ 
ties in these areas were so enormous, so continuous, and so extreme 
that even counting the dead has proved impossible. Scholars have 
attempted to deduce the numbers of fatalities from captured Ger¬ 
man records, reports of Einsatzgruppen (mobile execution squads). 



14 BLOW BACK 


prisoner of war (POW) camp mortality reports, and Soviet census 
statistics. The evidence indicates that between 3 and 4 million 
captured Soviet soldiers were intentionally starved to death in Ger¬ 
man POW camps between 1941 and 1944. At least a million and a 
half Jews were exterminated inside Nazi-occupied Soviet territory, 
mainly through mass shootings but also through gassing, deporta¬ 
tion to extermination camps, looting and destruction of villages, 
hangings, and torture. The generally accepted figure for all Soviet 
wa r dead is 20 m illion human beings—about 15 per cent of the 
popu lation of the country at the time—but the destruction was so 
vast that even this number can be only an educated guess. 

The Nazis deliberately used famine as a political weapon in the 
East, and it soon became the largest single killer. As the German 
invasion of the USSR began, General (later Field Marshal) Erich von 
Manstein ordered that “the Jewish-Bolshevist system must be exter¬ 
minated. ... In hostile cities, a large part of the population will have 
to starve.” Nothing, Manstein continued, “may, out of a sense of 
mistaken humaneness, be distributed to prisoners or to the popula¬ 
tion—unless they are in the service of the German Wehrmacht.”* 

This was a war not only of conquest but of extermination. Entire 
regions of the USSR were to be cleared of the existing Communist 
apparatus and of Slavic “subhumans” to make way for settlement 
by “Aryan pioneers.” Above all, it was believed necessary to con¬ 
duct an ideological war to wipe out the “Jewish-Bolshevist plague” 
and those who were its “carriers.” 

The Nazis’ mass killings at Lidice, Czechoslovakia, and Oradour, 
France—where the Germans rounded up the town’s population in 
retaliation for the assassination of a German official, murdered the 
captives, and shipped any survivors to concentration camps, then 


* Other features of military regulations promulgated by Manstein on the eve of the war 
include orders for the immediate liquidation of all captured Soviet political officers or lead¬ 
ers, summary executions for civilians who “participate or want to participate” in resistance 
to German troops, and “collective measures of force”—which soon came to mean murder 
of entire populations of villages, including children—to punish hamlets in which “malicious 
attacks [against the Wehrmacht] of any kind whatsoever” had taken place. German soldiers 
who had committed what would otherwise be crimes under Germany’s own military code 
were not to be prosecuted if their acts had taken place “out of bitterness against. . . carriers 
of the Jewish-Bolshevik system.” 

Manstein later claimed at his trial for war crimes that the starvation order had “escaped 
my memory entirely.” He was convicted by a British tribunal and sentenced to eighteen 
years in prison, but he obtained release in 1952 after servi^fewgj^than^diree^ year s, of his 
term. The former field marshal ev^lrrally^became an adViser to the We st German Defense 
Ministry. 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 15 

burned the place to the ground—are well remembered in the West 
today. 

But inside the Nazi-occupied USSR there were not just one or two 
Lidices. There were hundreds. Mass killings of the Lidice type took 
place at Rasseta (372 dead), Vesniny (about 200 dead, mainly 
women and children), and Dolina (469 dead, again mainly women 
and children), to name only three. In the Osveya district in north¬ 
ern Belorussia alone, in the single month of March 1943, the Nazis 
and collaborationist troops devastated some 158 villages, according 
to Times of London correspondent Alexander Werth. “All able 
bodied men Twerel deported as slaves and all the wo men, children 
and old people murdered, ” Werth reports. This pattern of massacre 
and scorched earth warfare was repeated again and again through¬ 
out the war on the eastern front. 

Nazi warfare against partisans was consistently brutal throughout 
Europe, and the Germans and their collaborators committed nu¬ 
merous violations of the “laws and customs of war,” such as torture, 
mass killings of innocent persons in retaliation for guerrilla attacks, 
and murder of hostages across the Continent. It was in the East, 
however, that such killings reached a truly frenzied level. At 
Odessa, for example, the Nazis and their Romanian collabor ators 
destroyed 19,000 Jews and other so-called subversive elements in 
a single night in retaliation for a partisan bombing that had killed 
about a dozen Romanian soldiers. Axis troops rounded up another 
40,000 Jews and executed them during the following week. The SS 
used gas wagons disguised as Red Cross vans to kill about 7,000 
women and children in the south, near Krasnodar. At least 100,000 
Jews and Slavs were slain at Babi Yar, near Kiev, and so on, and on, 
and on. 2 

Hitler’s high command carefully planned the extermination cam¬ 
paign on the eastern front, drawing up directives for mass killings 
and distributing them to Wehrmacht and SS commanders. They 
established special SS teams devoted exclusively to mass murder— 
the Einsatzgruppen and their subgroups, the Sonderkommandos 
and Einsatzkommandos —and set up liaison between the killing 
teams and the army commanders at the front to ensure that the 
killing teams received the necessary intelligence and logistical sup¬ 
port. The SS carefully tabulated the results of the carnage as it took 
place, wrote it up, and sent word back to Berlin. Teams of inspec¬ 
tors and experts ( among them men who were later employed as 
experts on Soviet affairs by U.STintelli gence agencies) traveled the 



16 BLOWBACK 


eastern front throughout the war to make sure the exterminations 
or confiscations of food from occupied territories were going prop¬ 
erly and were being carried out, as one Einsatzgruppe leader was 
to testify at Nuremberg, in a manner which was “humane under the 
circumstances.” 3 

What has since come to be termed “political warfare”—that is, 
the use of propaganda, sabotage, and collaborators to undermine an 
enemy’s will to fight—played an important role in German strategy 
from the beginning of the conflict. Specialized Nazi-trained propa¬ 
ganda and terror teams made up of native collaborators were 
among the first units that marched with the German armies across 
Europe. 

The Nazis originally planned to conquer the USSR in a matter of 
months, and for a time it looked as though they might succeed. But 
the German offensive bogged down, their supply lines stretched 
longer and became more vulnerable, and the partisan movement 
in the German rear grew stronger. As the fall of 1941 turned to 
winter, army commanders on the eastern front began to place 
increasing stress on using native anti-Communist collaborators to 
administer regions under Nazi occupation and to supplement Ger¬ 
many’s fighting troops, particularly in antipartisan warfare. 

Germany’s Soviet affairs specialists contended that a systematic 
program of employing collaborators and quislings, not unlike that 
which Germany had used in the occupied zones of Western and 
Central Europe, was a necessary tactic to achieve a military victory 
over the USSR. They argued that the invading Nazis should attempt 
to convince the Soviet people that the Germans would permit 
collaborators to enjoy a measure of wealth and power under Nazi 
sponsorship, that the occupied territories would be granted some 
sort of limited “national independence,” that churches would be 
reopened, and that the collective farm system would be dissolved. 
The more extreme types of Nazi brutality should be temporarily 
restricted, they asserted, in order not to interfere with stabilizing 
Nazi power in the occupied areas. Anti-Communist emigre groups 
already on the Germans’ payroll, such as the Natsional’no-Trudovoi 
Soyuz (NTS) and the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Organizat- 
siia Ukrainskikh Natsionalistov (OUN), were promoted as the Nazis’ 
best instruments for applying this combined political/military strat¬ 
egy inside the occupied zone. 4 

Hitlei, however, rejected such reasoning. His hatred of the Slavs 
in the East was both racial and political, and he had already laid 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 17 


plans to exterminate the majority of the Slavic people once he had 
finished with the Jews. He had little interest in setting up any sort 
of Slavic states in the East, not even those ruled by Nazi quislings. 

But political warfare tactics continued to gain popularity among 
Wehrmacht and some SS officers who were alarmed by Germany’s 
disastrous losses in the field. These men began to criticize some 
aspects of the German occupation of the USSR, a fact which has 
been repeatedly raised in their defense since the end of the war. 
Such “criticisms” of Hitler’s strategy cannot be taken at face value, 
however. One leading advocate of political warfare, Karl-Georg 
Pfleiderer, for example, followed up a 1942 inspection tour of the 
Ukraine with a report that the famine created by the German army 
was a bad practice—but only because it would interfere with Nazi 
efforts to extort more food from the occupied areas the following 
year. 

Even that sort of logic did not apply to the treatment of Jews. 
The political warfare faction of the German leadership “washed 
their hands of the Jews of Russia,” notes Holocaust historian Ger¬ 
ald Reitlinger. Mercy for the Jews “had nothing to do with win¬ 
ning the war against Stalin” for the Germans, he writes; “it was 
not essential to the war effort.” Indeed, according to Reitlinger, 
advocates of political warfare in the East often used aggressive 
anti-Semitism as a means of legitimizing their otherwise contro¬ 
versial program. 5 

As the military situation of the German troops worsened, Ger¬ 
man intelligence experts on the USSR found themselves in increas¬ 
ing demand. Several of these consultants had been born in czarist 
Russia, all spoke the language, and all of them had made careers out 
of their expertise in Soviet affairs. Some such authorities, like Franz 
Six and Emil Augsburg, were senior SS officers and true believers 
in the Nazi cause who had personally led mobile extermination 
squads in the East. Others, like Gustav Hilger in the Foreign Office 
and Ernst Kostring, Hans Heinrich Herwarth, Reinhard Gehlen, 
and Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt of the Wehrmacht, appear to have 
been motivated primarily by a sense of duty and a nationalistic 
pride in what they perceived to be a historic mission to eradicate 
communism. 6 

Native collaborators and defectors became the key to the Ger¬ 
man political warfare group’s plans. In the course of the war, the 
Nazis enlisted about a million such collaborators, including Uk¬ 
rainians, Azerbaijanis, Cossacks, and, of course, large numbers of 



18 BLOWBACK 


Russians. The Osttruppen (eastern troops) program, commanded 
by Kostring and Herwarth, embraced all eastern collaborationist 
troops under German army administration, while the SS recruited 
its own defectors into units that eventually became part of the 
Waffen SS. A variety of auxiliary police, militia, and other antipar¬ 
tisan formations organized directly by the Nazis or by collabora¬ 
tionist local administrations under Nazi control filled out the pic¬ 
ture. 

The jobs assigned to these collaborators ranged from hauling 
ammunition for frontline troops to mass executions of Jews—the 
dirty work, in short, that the Nazis often did not want to do for 
themselves. For the Germans, these units became a living labora¬ 
tory for the development of sophisticated propaganda, guerrilla 
warfare, and intelligence techniques for use against the Soviet gov¬ 
ernment. After the wan was over, as will be seen, t hey becam ejhe 
rawjnaateriai from which the new U.S. political warfare capability 
was built. ~~ ^ 

The most important common cause among the German political 
warriors during (and after) the war became a “Russian Liberation 
Movement/’ which they financed and armed. Their aim was noth¬ 
ing less than uniting all the squabbling collaborationist groups 
throughout the Nazi-occupied USSR into a single anti-Stalin army. 
The plan never succeeded, in part because of obstruction from 
Hitler, who feared the prospect of any all-Russian army, even one 
commanded by Nazi officers. 

Hitler was, however, willing to go along with the pretense of a 
supposedly independent “Russian Liberation Movement” as a 
propaganda ploy, so a psychological warfare operation built around 
those themes was undertaken by Gehlen and Strik-Strikfeldt as 
early as 1941 and continued throughout the war. In 1942 this effort 
became known as the Vlasov Army after Andrei Vlasov, a former 
general in the Red Army whom the Germans had chosen to be the 
crusade’s leader. Vlasov, who had been personally honored by Sta¬ 
lin in 1941 for his courage in the defense of Moscow against German 
attack, had defected to the Nazis the next year following a humiliat¬ 
ing defeat. A tragic figure of Dostoyevskyan proportions, Vlasov 
apparently sincerely believed that the Nazi government would 
back his effort to raise an anti-Communist army from among Ger¬ 
man-held POWs and refugees, then train and equip that army, all 
the while asking next to nothing in return. Such dreams, of course, 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 19 

were bound to lead to ruin. In the end Vlasov lost both his army and 
his life.* 

In 1942, however, Vlasov was just the man that the political 
warfare faction was looking for, and the creation of an army of 
Soviet defectors under German control using him as a figurehead 
became its central preoccupation for the remainder of the war. 
“The Germans started a form of blackmail against the surviving 
Russian war prisoners,” war correspondent Alexander Werth notes. 
“[EJither go into the Vlasov Army or starve.” The overwhelming 
majority of Soviet POWs refused the offer, and about 2 million 
POWs who were given the choice of collaboration or starvation 
between 1942 and 1945 chose death before they would aid the 
Nazis. But many thousands of Russians did join the invaders as 
porters, cooks, concentration camp guards, and informers, and later 
as fighting troops under German control. 7 

As will be seen, the Vlasov Army has frequently been portrayed 
in the West since the war as the most noble and idealistic of the 
Nazis’ emigre legions. Vlasov was “convinced that it was possible to 

*Vlasov was seriously ill with alcoholism throughout the war, and his condition worsened 
as defeat neared. Still, he clung to the conviction that his Nazi-sponsored army might some¬ 
how contribute to the overthrow of Stalin. Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt, Vlasov’s German liaison 
officer, remembered one of his last encounters with the general as follows: “That night when 
he had gone to bed I went up to his room. ‘Forgive me, Wilfried Karlovich/ he said. ‘Of late 
I have been drinking heavily. Of course I used to drink before, but it never got hold of me. 
Now I want to forget. Kroeger keeps filling up my glass and perhaps he thinks that is the 
way to manage me. He is wrong. ... I miss nothing I just want to get away. . . . Wilfried 
Karlovich . . . [you must] tell the others that Vlasov and his friends loved their country and 
were not traitors. Promise me. ..” A broken man, Vlasov lapsed from these reflections into 
a fitful sleep. 

In the very last days of the war Vlasov and his troops also betrayed the Germans and briefly 
assisted Czech partisans in Prague who were fighting the Wehrmacht. Following a short 
battle there, the general surrendered his men to the U.S. Third Army in early May 1945. The 
Americans, operating under wartime orders to cooperate with the Red Army in POW 
matters, turned Vlasov over to the Russians shortly after his capture. 

There are several versions of how Vlasov passed from American into Soviet hands. The 
most colorful one is offered by Jurgen Thorwald, a German publicist who enjoyed close 
personal ties with a number of Vlasov’s senior officers. Thorwald asserts that an unknown 
American officer lured Vlasov to a secret conference at a “mysterious locality” near where 
the Russian was being held under house arrest. “While the party was passing through a 
wooded lane ... it was suddenly surrounded by Soviet troops. Vlasov and his staff were 
overpowered before they knew what was happening.” Other versions claim the United 
States simply turned the general over to the Soviets during a routine POW transfer. What¬ 
ever the truth on that point is, it is clear that Vlasov and ten of his senior officers were tried 
for treason in Moscow during the summer of 1946. On August 12 the Soviet radio announced 
that “all of the accused admitted their guilt and were condemned to death.... The sentences 
have been carried out.” 



20 BLOWS A CK 


overthrow Stalin and establish another form of government in 
Russia/’ writes U.S. psychological warfare consultant Wallace Car- 
roll in a widely circulated 1949 feature story promoting American 
recruitment of Vlasov’s veterans. “What he wanted was a 'demo¬ 
cratic’ government, and by ‘democratic’ he meant... [a] republican 
and parliamentary system.” 8 

In reality, Vlasov’s organization consisted in large part of reas¬ 
signed veterans from some of the most depraved SS and “security” 
units of the Nazis’ entire killing machine, regardless of what Vlasov 
himself may have wanted. By 1945 about half of Vlasov’s troops had 
been drawn from the SS Kommando Kaminsky, which had earlier 
been led by the Belorussian collaborator Bronislav Kaminsky. * 

The Kaminsky militia’s loyalty to the Nazis won it an official 
commission in the Waffen SS, quite an honor for Slavic “subhu¬ 
mans,” coming from the Germans. They went on to spearhead the 
bloody suppression of the heroic 1944 Warsaw Ghetto rebellion 
with such bestial violence that even German General Hans 
Guderian was appalled and called for their removal from the field. 
The Germans eventually caught Kaminsky pocketing loot that he 
was supposed to have turned over to the Reich. They executed him 
in the last days of the uprising. 

With Kaminsky himself gone, the SS then folded together his 
remaining troops with other Russian turncoats from POW camps, 
plus a variety of other ethnic Russian and Ukrainian Schumabatail- 
lone , or security units. 9 Many of these new soldiers had histories 
similar in all important respects to those of the Kaminsky men. 
They are who made up the “idealistic” Vlasov Army. 

The German political warriors were themselves split over the 
traditionally knotty question of the minority nationalities in the 
USSR. Advocates of political warfare tactics within the Nazi For¬ 
eign Office, the SS, and German military intelligence, for example, 
generally favored uniting all the defectors and collaborators from 
the USSR into the Vlasov Army. The figureheads of that force were 
generally of Russian ethnic background and sharply opposed to the 

*These troops were among the actual triggermen of the Holocaust, and were particularly 
active in machine-gun slayings of civilians. Some of Kaminsky’s men were also known to have 
titillated themselves by photographing naked Jewish women moments before murdering 
them. Some of the militiamen seem to have enjoyed “before and after” pictures, for a 
number of such prints were later discovered on the bodies of fallen Kaminsky soldiers. The 
Germans, however, fearing that premature publicity might wreck their “race and resettle¬ 
ment” schemes, soon put an end to Kaminsky’s picture-taking sessions at the edge of the 
executioner’s ditch. 


Slaughter on the Eastern Front 21 


nationalistic ambitions of the Ukrainians, Caucasians, and other 
minority groups within the USSR. 

Alfred Rosenberg’s nonmilitary (but thoroughly Nazi) ministry 
for the occupied eastern territories argued, on the other hand, that 
the Baltic, Ukrainian, and Islamic minority groups from the periph¬ 
ery of the USSR should be encouraged to create separate “national 
liberation armies” to free their homelands from both “Jewish-com- 
munism” and the imperialism of the Russians. Rosenberg’s ministry 
created about a dozen “governments-in-exile” for Belorussians, the 
Crimean Tatars, Soviet Georgians, and other minority groups inside 
the USSR to carry out this program. 

The old czarist Russia, it will be recalled, had been an expansion¬ 
ist empire for centuries and had gradually conquered much of 
Central Asia and the northern approaches to the Middle East. The 
subject peoples of those territories—the Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kalmyks, 
and others—were primarily Muslim by religion and of Turkic or 
Mongolian ethnic background, with languages and cultures sharply 
different from those of the Orthodox Christian czars who at¬ 
tempted to rule them from Moscow. 

Similarly, czarist Russia had also repeatedly attempted to assimil¬ 
ate the peoples along its European border to the west of Moscow. 
There Russians had historically clashed with the Lithuanians, Poles, 
and Romanians over a long strip of disputed territory stretching 
north to south from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Perhaps the most 
important prize in those early conflicts was the Ukraine, a rich, 
ethnically distinct area on the southeastern border of modern-day 
Poland. 

The revolution of 1917 had added still another layer of complex¬ 
ity to the bitterness among these groups and had intensified the 
existing ethnic, class, and religious antagonisms. Many of the sub¬ 
ject peoples—notably the Ukrainians, Armenians, and Georgians— 
attempted to set up new nation-states in their territories in the 
wake of the fall of the czar. All the major European powers, now 
including the predominantly Russian Bolsheviks, jockeyed for 
power in the contested regions, each of them backing a favored 
faction of the rebellious minority groups in a bid to expand its 
influence. By 1925 many of those struggles had been settled 
through force of arms in favor of the Soviets, particularly in the 
south and east of what was now the USSR. But the Baltic countries 
of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in the north had managed to 
preserve a fragile national independence, and Poland had gained 



22 BLOWBACK 


thousands of square miles of the Ukraine under the armistice that 
ended World War I. 

These earlier upheavals had left a powerful legacy of ethnic and 
religious discontent inside the USSR and had led to the creation of 
large anti-Communist emigre communities in several major Euro¬ 
pean capitals. The violence and bloodshed that accompanied Stalin¬ 
ist land reform and the suppression of religion during the 1930s 
ensured that many of those wounds remained open. 

Alfred Rosenberg’s vision was to make use of these conflicts as a 
means of advancing what he perceived to be Germany’s racial and 
national mission in the East. The German intelligence services had 
also systematically recruited sympathizers among the various 
emigre groups and by the eve of World War II had trained and 
armed several large squadrons of Ukrainian nationalists for use in 
both the 1939 division of Poland and the later blitzkrieg attack on 
the USSR. 

The relationship between these forces and their German spon¬ 
sors was complex and shifted repeatedly in the course of the war. 
As some minority nationalist leaders saw it, it was they who were 
using the Germans, not the other way around, in order to pursue 
their own aspirations of power. The German response to such ambi¬ 
tions reflected all the classical dilemmas of an imperial power 
caught between its desire for absolute control and the practical 
necessity of relying on minor allies with dreams of their own to 
achieve that end. The various factions of the Nazi state fought 
bitterly among themselves over how to deal with their unruly 
pawns. The emigre nationalists and the Vlasov forces were alter¬ 
nately supported and temporarily suppressed, then supported 
again as Germany’s military fortunes in the East changed. 

There was one thing, it seems, on which all the German political 
warfare specialists could agree: Most of the blood to be spilled in the 
envisioned anti-Communist revolution would be that of Russians, 
Ukrainians, Cossacks, and other natives of the USSR, not that of 
Germans. “Every Russian who fights for us,” the Nazi Foreign 
Office propaganda expert Anton Bossi-Fedrigotti argued, “saves 
German blood.” 10 

The German generals who commanded the emigre anti-Commu¬ 
nist legions had no illusions about the motivations of most of the 
defectors who agreed to work for the Nazis in the East. “The bulk 
of the volunteers ... I am convinced, did not enlist to fight for the 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 23 


[anti-Bolshevik] cause,” writes Lieutenant General Ralph von Hey- 
gendorff, a commander of the eastern legions (under Kostring’s 
authority) from 1942 through 1944. Instead, the majority came 
“solely for the purpose of gaining personal advantages, immedi¬ 
ately or within the near future. Many of these men attempted to 
demonstrate strongly an idealism which neither existed nor gov¬ 
erned their actions.” In reality, it was the “horrible conditions pre¬ 
vailing in most of the [POW] camps,” according to HeygendorflF, 
that led most of the collaborators to seize on cooperation with the 
Nazis as a “last hope.” 

The few “true idealists” among their ranks, the German general 
continues, “who combined a pronounced anti-Bolshevik attitude 
with a fanatical love for their own people” were among the most 
brutal and violent of all the Nazis’ legions when it came to dealing 
with the civilian population in the German-occupied regions, pre¬ 
cisely because they were generally regarded as traitors by their 
own people. “They were extremely harsh toward fellow country¬ 
men who failed to share their ideals,” HeygendorflF writes. “In deal¬ 
ing with undependable individuals they were so severe that we 
frequently had to intervene” (emphasis added)—a German euphe¬ 
mism that indicates that the “idealists” were often responsible for 
mass murders of innocent civilians during the antipartisan cam¬ 
paigns. 11 

The Nazis selected the more promising and talented collabora¬ 
tors for intelligence missions behind Soviet lines, propaganda, sabo¬ 
tage, and—most commonly—the interrogation of the millions of 
Soviet POWs and civilians who had fallen into German hands dur¬ 
ing the opening months of the war. Multilingual defectors were 
often attached to the interrogation teams because of their language 
skills, knowledge of the local area, or, as noted above, enthusiasm 
for dealing with their compatriots “who did not share their ideals.” 
The German army and the SS specifically authorized torture and 
frequently employed it as a means of extracting information. Inside 
the POW camps local collaborators specialized in Durchkammung, 
the “combing out” of Jews, “commissars” (Communist party mem¬ 
bers), and other undesirables from among the captured soldiers. 
The SS turned the “combed” ones over to the mobile killing squads 
for execution. 

The work of these interrogators and interpreters was essential to 
the broader Nazi effort to locate and exterminate the Jews and 
Communists who had fallen into their hands. After the war the 



24 BLOWBACK 


German political warfare experts rarely discussed their own roles 
or those of their defectors in these interrogations, despite their 
clear participation in them. This is perhaps because, as noted by the 
Nuremberg tribunal in its decision on SS man and political warfare 
specialist Waldemar von Radetzky, “by admitting the translation 
functions, [they] would be admitting that [they] knew of executions 
which followed certain investigations.” 12 The political warfare ex¬ 
perts were deeply involved in these interrogations throughout the 
war. Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt, for example, who was later a central 
figure in CIA-financed emigre operations in Munich, spent much of 
the war as chief interrogator of the Russian intelligence directorate 
of the Abwehr (German military intelligence) on the eastern 
front. 13 

Otto Ohlendorf, the commander of Einsatzgruppe D mass execu¬ 
tion squads in the Caucasus, offers a glimpse into a part of the 
careers of the leaders of the political warfare faction and their 
collaborationist troops that might otherwise be lost to history. Ac¬ 
cording to Ohlendorf, the collaborator units formed one of the most 
important—and incriminating—links between the German mili¬ 
tary officer corps, on the one hand, and the SS’s Einsatzgruppen 
extermination squads, on the other. “The Army units had to sort out 
political commissars and other undesirable elements themselves”— 
that is, through use of native quislings and collaborators—then 
“hand them over to the Einsatzkommandos to be killed,” Ohlen¬ 
dorf testified. “[T]he activity of the Einsatzgruppen and their Ein¬ 
satzkommandos was carried out entirely within the field of jurisdic¬ 
tion of the commanders in chief of the army groups or armies under 
their responsibility.” 14 

Collaborators often played an important role in mass murders. 
The officers of these killing squads were, like Ohlendorf, primarily 
Germans attached to various police units under SS jurisdiction. But 
many of the troops in the killing squads, significantly, were not 
Germans. They were, according to Ohlendorf, collaborators on loan 
from the army known as Notdienstverpflichtete (emergency ser¬ 
vice draftees, later to be designated Osttruppen, or eastern troops), 
local militias or companies of defectors that were destined to be 
directly recruited into the Waffen SS. 

“The importance of these auxiliaries should not be under¬ 
estimated,” notes internationally recognized Holocaust expert Raul 
Hilberg. “Roundups by local inhabitants who spoke the local lan¬ 
guage resulted in higher percentages of Jewish dead. This fact is 



Slaughter on the Eastern Front 25 


clearly indicated by the statistics of the Kommandos which made 
use of local help.” In Lithuania municipal killing squads employing 
Lithuanian Nazi collaborators eliminated 46,692 Jews in fewer than 
three months, according to their own reports, mainly by combining 
clocklike liquidation of 500 Jews per day in the capital city of Vil¬ 
nius with mobile “cleanup” sweeps through the surrounding coun¬ 
tryside. 

Such squads were consistently used by the Nazis for the dirty 
work that even the SS believed to be “beneath the dignity” of the 
German soldier. In the Ukraine, for example, Einsatzkommando 4a 
went so far as to “confine itself to the shooting of adults while 
commanding its Ukrainian helpers to shoot [the] children,” Hilberg 
reports. “We were actually frightened,” remembered Ernst Biber- 
stein, the chief of Einsatzkommando 6, “by the blood thirstiness of 
these people.” 15 

The collaborationist troops of the eastern front were, in sum, an 
integral part of German strategy in the East and deeply involved 
in Nazi efforts to exterminate the Jews. The Western powers recog¬ 
nized this fact during the war. Collaborators captured by Western 
forces were treated as prisoners of war, and many were turned over 
to the USSR as traitors and suspected war criminals in the first 
months after Germany’s surrender. The predominant opinion in 
the U.S. command at war’s end was that it was now up to the USSR 
to decide what to do with the Nazis’ eastern troops and other 
traitors, just as it was up to the Americans to decide what to do with 
Tokyo Rose and similar captured defectors from this country. 

But a parallel development that would soon have a powerful 
impact on how Axis POWs were treated in the West was taking 
place. There was at the time in American hands another group of 
Ax is^ prisoners, who, unlike the collaborators from the East, were 
reg arded a s quite valuable: scientists who had put their.s kills to , 
w ork for the Nazi cause. 

All the major powers considered German scientists part of the 
booty of war. The Am ericans, British, an d Soviets each had ^stab- 
lished special teams that con centra ted on t hejc apture and p reserva¬ 
tion of Germa n labor atories, industrial patents, and similar useful 
twdware __Qj^hejnodefn age. Sci entist sAyere ge nerallyT jgar^d^as , 
ajjiathc^tedbinic^"a^set to be appropriated^ 

The United States“arid^Great Brffam jointly created a Combined 
Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (CIOS) to coordinate their 



26 BLOWBACK 


efforts to seize particularly valuable targets. Actual raids were car¬ 
ried out by subordinate teams designated by a letter, like the “S 
Force” (also known as the “Sugar Force” in cable traffic) in Italy, the 
“T Force” in France, Holland, and Germany, and so on. 16 These 
units had only minimal armed strength, but they traveled complete 
with accomplished linguists, Western scientists, and police special¬ 
ists who permitted them to identify rapidly and capture useful 
experts and materials. 

The stakes in the search for the scientific expertise of Germany 
were^liTgHrThe~ Yi ngl e ~most imporfa n FAmer icafTsfrikerForce, for 
example, was the Alsos raiding t eam, which targeted_Axis atomi c 
research, uraniu m stock piles, andTiuclear scientists, as wefi as Nazi^ 
chemi caTancl Idio logic aFv^^Fare^re search. The commander of this 
“assighm^nFwasTkSTAr^my Colonel Boris Pash, who had previously 
been security chief of the Manhattan Project—the United States’ 
atomic bomb development program—and who later played an im¬ 
portant role in highly secret U.S. covert action programs. Pash 
succeeded brilliantly in his mission, seizing top German scientists 
and more than 70,000 tons of Axis uranium ore and radium pro-, 
ducts. The uranium taken during these raids was eventually 
shipped to the United States and incorporated in U.S. atomic weap¬ 
ons. 17 

The U.S. government’s utilitarian approach to dealing with Ger¬ 
man science and scientists, however, proved to be the point of the 
wedge that eventually helped split American resolve to deal 
harshly with Nazi criminals, including the captured collaborators 
who had served on the eastern front. It is clear in hindsight that the 
Americans in charge of exploiting German specialists captured 
through Alsos and similar programs became pioneers of the meth¬ 
ods later used to bring other Nazis and collaborators into this coun¬ 
try. Equally important, tJi^^hilosop^aFconcegts^nd psychologi¬ 
cal rationalizations expressed by U.S. officials in dealing with the_ 



CHAPTER THREE 


“Chosen, Rare Minds” 


German General Walter Dornbe rger is a case in point. Dorn¬ 
berger—anSS, officer—was never indicted or tried 
on any war crimes charge. Instead, he became a famous man in 
aerospace industry circles and remains much respected by U.S. 
corporate and military associations to this day. Dornberger is often 
cited as an example of the sort of German who was really innocent 
of Nazi crimes and who was appropriate for the United States to 
recruit once the war was over. 

The U.S. Air Force, it is now known, secretly brought Dornberger 
to this country in 1947 and put him to work on a classified rocketry 
program at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) 
near Dayton, Ohio. By 1950 he had gone into private industry with 
Bell Aircraft, and he eventually rose to _hs^ senior vice-pres ident 
in the Bell Aerosyst ems Division o f the massive multinational Tex ¬ 
tron C orporation. There he specialized in company liaison with U.S. 
military agencies. He enjoyed high U.S. security clearances and 
many public honors, including the American Rocket Society’s As¬ 
tronautics Award in 1959. He died peacefully in June 1980. 1 

Prior to his arrival in the United States Dornberger had been a 
career German artillery officer. He had recognized as early as the 
1920s that the Versailles Treaty prohibited Germany from building 
more than a handful of cannons, bombers, naval guns, or similar 
conventional weaponry. Rockets, however, had been unknown as 

27 



28 BLOWBACK 


modern weapons at the time of Versailles and thus had not been 
banned by that agreement. Dornberger was one of the first who 
figured out that these scientists’ toys could be put to use to propel 
high explosives. He labored hard from 1932 on to make missiles an 
integral part of the arsenal of the Third Reich. 

It was not easy being a military rocket chief in Nazi Germany. 
The SS, in particular, tried to muscle in on Dornberger’s work. 
Money, engineers, and slave laborers used in construction seemed 
always to be in short supply. And in March 1943 a terrible blow fell: 
Adolf Hitler had a dream in which Dornberger’s pet project, the 
giant liquid-fueled V-2 rocket, failed to cross the English Channel. 
The Fiihrer put great stock in these nightly visions, and soon the 
general’s project had fallen to the bottom of a heap of high-priority 
“secret weapons” that were supposed to extricate Germany from 
the mess it had created. 

But General Walter Dornberger was nothing if not determined. 
He requested and got a private audience with Hitler during July 
1943. With films, little wooden rocket models, and other audio¬ 
visual aids, Dornberger personally convinced Hitler to authorize 
the creation of a gigantic underground factory near Nordhausen for 
mass production of his machines. This factory would also house one 
of the major crimes of the war. 2 

The Nazis used slave labor from the nearby Dora concentration 
camp to build the Nordhausen rocket works. In fewer than fifteen 
months of operation the SS drove Dora’s inmates to hack a mile- 
long underground cavern out of an abandoned salt mine to house 
the facility. The starvation diet and heavy labor generally killed the 
toilers after a few months. The assembly line workers who actually 
built the missiles once the cave was finished were not much better 
off. 

At least 20,000 prisoners—many of them talented engineers who 
I had been singled out for missile production because of their educa- 
/ tion—were killed through starvation, disease, or execution at Dora 
and Nordhausen in the course of this project. 3 

The question of who bears responsibility for these deaths has 
been the subject of considerable controversy since the war. After 
1945, of course, Dornberger and his subordinates denied that they 
had had anything to do with the Nordhausen production line. The 
SS, not they, they said, had controlled the labor force at the under¬ 
ground factory. 



29 


“Chosen, Rare Minds” 

The SS surely deserves to bear part, perhaps even the largest 
part, of responsibility for the crimes at Nordhausen. But it is a 
mistake to think it acted alone. In truth, Dornberger and his aides 
fought a long bureaucratic battle with the SS over control of Ger¬ 
many’s rocket program, and the degree of Dornberger’s personal 
authority over what took place on the production line shifted with 
Hitler’s moods. In late 1944 the general reached an agreement with 
Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, under which the SS’s repre¬ 
sentative, Hans Kammler, took over day-to-day management at 
Nordhausen on the condition that selected Dornberger subordi¬ 
nates (like latter-dav U.S. rocket program administrator Arthur Ru- 
dolph) retained their positions of authority at the facility. Dorn- 
Herger himself retained explicit jurisdiction over production 
schedules, including the number of missiles to be built and the mix 
of the various models. 4 

Dornberger, in short, did not directly control the slaves at Nord¬ 
hausen. His production orders, however, set the schedule by which 
they were worked to death. And he was, it seems, an enthusiastic 
taskmaster. He demanded more and more rockets—more than 
there was even fuel to launch—until the very last moments of the 
war. Food for the slaves at Nordhausen—never much in the first 
place—ran out altogether sometime in February 1945. But Dorn¬ 
berger’s orders for more missiles never stopped, and the labor bat¬ 
talions worked around the clock without nourishment. The SS sim¬ 
ply crammed more prisoners into the Dora camp, used the strong 
ones for labor until they dropped, and let the weak ones die. 

Thousands of inmates starved to death. Cholera raged through 
the camp, killing hundreds each day. At first the SS cremated the 
dead so as to keep down disease among the surviving slaves. As the 
end neared, however, the ovens couldn’t keep up with the demand 
and the corpses were simply left to rot. Inmates piled the bodies up 
in corners, under stairways, anywhere that was a little out of the 
way. And the rocket work continued. 

Dornberger visited the Nordhausen factory on many occasions. 
He knew—or should have known, for the atrocity was evident to 
any eye—that the prisoners who worked on his rockets were being 
systematically starved to death. And he knew, for he has said this 
much himself, that Germany’s defeat was inevitable. 5 Dornberger 
could have shut down the assembly line on some technical pretext. 
He could have demanded adequate rations for the prisoners. He 



30 BLOWBACK 


could have cut back his missile orders to the number that Germany 
was capable of launching. He chose instead to accelerate produc¬ 
tion. 

T he general’s postwar autobiograph y, which was received with^ 
s ome ^citica l acclaim in the West , is filled with anecdotesTabout his 
rocket testsT bureaucratic" struggles, and technical achievements. 
His machines are described in endless detail with precise informa¬ 
tion on takeoff weight, fuel consumption, thrust, and other minu¬ 
tiae of physics. Yet there is not a phrase of acknowledgment for the 
prisoners who actually constructed these machines at the cost of 
their lives. He presents events in his book as though his missiles had 
simply leaped off their drawing boards and into the skies with no 
intermediate steps, as though rockets could somehow build them¬ 
selves. 

When many Americans think of the Holocaust—those, that is, 
who were not eyewitnesses—they often think of the images on a 
certain piece of grainy motion-picture film, on which cadaverous 
inmates resembling living skeletons are shown leaning out from 
filthy wooden bunks to weakly greet U.S. Army liberators. The 
movie then cuts to a scene in which hundreds of corpses are laid 
out in a row. They appear hardly human even in death. The leg- 
bones are etched clearly against the ground, but the limbs seem too 
big somehow, as though they don’t fit with the bodies. This is be¬ 
cause there is no flesh left on the remains, only skin; the Nazis and 
their rocket factory have made off with the rest. The film flickers 
as an American officer walks past the atrocity, his face a mask. 

That documentary film was taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps 
at Nordhausen in April 1945. 6 The Dora camp and its underground 
missile works were the first major slave labor facility liberated by 
American forces. 

The U.S. liberation of the Nordhausen complex set off ^scramble 
betwee n U.S. an d Soviet scien tific raidi ng tea ms that prov ed to be 
o ne oftfie opening shots o f thecold war. The Sovietsattempted to 
claim the captured scientists and the buried technical booty at 
Nordhausen as their own, in part because they considered the camp 
inside their zone of military operations. The United States, how¬ 
ever, ended up with the larger share of the'sCientific legacy of the 
Nordhausencomplex. This included tons of partially assembled V-2 
rockets, technical documentation, and about T20jli^aptured_G.er- 
man rocke try exp erts—Dornberger and Wernher von Braun 



“Chosen, Rare Minds 


31 


among them. The value of the scientific d ocuments alone has been 
conservatively" estifflaiedlit™^TOO to $500lnillibn7 

And there was more, muchn^Ter^cierrEific^and technical booty 
from all over Germany. The U.S. share of these spoils included the 
engineers, technicians, and fifty ME-162 jet turbines—the most 
advanced in the world—from the Messerschmitt factory at Schone- 
beck; virtually the entire scientific staff from the Siemens and Zeiss 
companies; leading chemical and electrical engineers and their 
equipment from I. G. Farben and Telefunken; scientists, radium, 
and all traces of atomic research from the Physical and Technical 
Institute in Weida; and the technical staff and all designs for new 
motors from the underground BMW works at Unsenberg, to name 
only a few. 7 

The Soviets, for their part, regarded virtually all the wealth of 
Germany as potential compensation for the massive destruction 
that the Nazis had wreaked inside the USSR. Soviet troops seized 
almost any industrial or scientific equipment that could be located 
in the Russian occupation zone. Printing presses; chemistry labs; 
office furniture; dentistry tools; hospitals; steel mills; railroad track; 
machine tools—anything and everything of productive value that 
could be located were systematically dismantled, crated, and 
shipped east. 

Before the summer of 1945 was out, the United States and the 
USSR were publicly accusing each other of looting German scien¬ 
tific and industrial wealth in violation of their wartime agreements. 
These East-West conflicts over seizures soon spilled over into the 
August 1945 Potsdam Conference, where contentious arguments 
over who had prior claim to Germany’s scientists and technicians 
seriously soured the already tense negotiations. Each side at the 
conference appears to have regarded its rival’s clandestine raiding 
operations as an acid test of its opponent’s postwar intentions, re¬ 
gardless of what the diplomats may have said at the conference 
table. 

American spokesmen, interestingly enough, replied to Soviet 
charges concerning captured German scientists with the assertion 
that all such experts then in U.S. hands were either suspected war 
criminals or former top executives of Germany’s war machine. 
They were therefore appropriately subject to arrest, the United 
States said. 8 But despite these early public claims concerning the 
character of the captured German specialists, many of the same 
experts were soon considered too valuable to bring to trial. Instead, 



32 BLOWBACK 


the United States began to integrate scores of top German scientists 
into American military research projects only weeks after Hitler’s 
final collapse. Before two years were out, hundreds of German 
scientists, including some suspected of crimes against humanity, 
were on the American payroll. 

Most of the German specialists who actively engaged in military 
research during the war were longtime Nazi party members. There 
are many complex reasons for this phenomenon. Some of them, of 
course, simply believed in the Nazi cause. U.S. Army investigators 
were informed shortly after the war that Dornberger’s chief of staff, 
Dr. Herbert Axster, for example, beat and starved inmate workers 
on his two estates, while his wife had been a national spokeswoman 
noted for her pro-Nazi speeches on behalf of the NS Frauenschaft, 
a Nazi party women’s auxiliary. 9 Many senior German academic 
figures promoted elaborate “scholarly” theories of Aryan genetic 
superiority, which had been popular in some intellectual circles for 
decades by the time the Nazis came to power, and the Axsters are 
said to have been among them. 

Hitler’s government had given party members and sympathizers 
among the intelligentsia control of most major centers of German 
scholarship well before the war, and they maintained an effective 
carrot-and-stick system to keep Germany’s academic community in 
line. Research grants and professional advancement were open 
only to those experts who were willing to associate themselves 
publicly with the party or with a variety of Nazi-controlled profes¬ 
sional associations and licensing bodies. Researchers engaged in 
rocketry, electronics, and other highly sensitive fields of interest to 
the military were carefully screened for reliability before they re¬ 
ceived security clearances. Leading technical thinkers were often 
given honorary party membership or SS ranks; Wernher von 
Braun, for example, had been an honorary SS officer for almost a 
decade by the end of the war. A brief review of the German scien¬ 
tific literature of the period makes it clear that many experts who 
were accorded such “honors” clearly felt it was prudent to display 
them and use them for professional advancement. 

At the same time Jews and scientists thought to be hostile to Nazi 
precepts were systematically purged from academe, and not a few 
brilliant minds who refused to aid the Nazis died in concentration 
camps or as cannon fodder on the eastern front. Of those who 
continued work during the Nazi period, many have since said that 



‘Chosen, Rare Minds” 


33 


they supported the Nazi state out of fear, German national pride, 
or the feeling that they could not abandon their country in war¬ 
time. 

By the end of the war many U.S. military intelligence officials 
believed that a distinction should be made between scientists like 
von Braun who had joined the Nazi party and SS for what the 
Americans termed “opportunistic” reasons, on the one hand, and 
the various German experts who had supported Nazism for ideolog¬ 
ical reasons or who had directly participated in atrocities, on the 
other. The former were viewed as prized captives and given special 
dispensation from the general Allied policy on handling former 
Nazi officers and SS men. 

The U.S. Army and Navy brought some German scientists to this 
country as early as the summer of 1945. On July 6 the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff (JCS) specifically authorized an effort to “exploit. . . chosen, 
rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to 
use” under the top secret project code-named Overcast. The chiefs 
directed that up to 350 specialists, mainly from Germany and 
Austria, should be immediately brought to the United States. 10 
These “rare minds” included, for example, specialists in submarine 
design, chemical warfare, and, of course, missile research. 

Under Overcast, it soon became the custom for U.S. intelligence 
officers to ignore German scientists’ past memberships in the Nazi 
party and the SS in order to recruit these presumably valuable 
experts. There were several reasons for this. For one thing, the first 
scientists were enlisted under a program that was clearly limited to 
“temporary military exploitation,” as the JCS order put it, and thus 
was in effect an expanded type of interrogation of German POWs. 
All the Axis scientists (and their families, who were permitted to 
accompany them to the United States) were to remain under War 
Department control during their stay in this country, and all of 
them were supposed to be returned to Europe following comple¬ 
tion of their particular research projects. 

At first this was justified on the grounds that German scientists 
might be useful in the continuing war against Japan. But the Ameri¬ 
cans’ own terror weapon, the atomic bomb, decided the Pacific 
conflict within a few months after the surrender of Hitler’s Ger¬ 
many. The “Japanese threat” rationale evaporated. 

Subsequent events have made clear that the emerging conflict 
with the USSR was often not far from policymakers’ minds when 
Overcast was created. As early as June 1945 RCA chief David Sar- 



34 BLOWBACK 


noff argues in a confidential letter to President Truman’s chief 
science adviser that_ J‘the security for any nation henceforth de¬ 
pends ... to a very large extent^o nTEfp lace~I n the sc ie ntific sun. 
TKaTsun may shine brightly for those who know, andlFmay EelT 
total blackout for those who don’t.” Sarnoff continues: “It is not only 
important that we get [Germany’s] scientific information but that 
we lay hands on their scientists as well. If we do not find them and 
remove them to a place perhaps on this side of the water where 
they can continue their scientific experiments under our guidance 
and control, our Russian friends may do so first.” 11 

At the same time the U.S.-USSR rivalry was heating up, the mys¬ 
tique of white coats and high technology was also at work, separat¬ 
ing the captured specialists from responsibility for their wartime 
deeds in all but the most horrific cases. A special committee of the 
,U.S. National Acad emy of Sciences , for example, put forward in 
1945 the rather surprising^theory that its brethren’s wartime re¬ 
search for the Nazis had actually been a form of resistance against 
Hitler’s regime. The majority of German scientists, the academy 
asserted, composed what was termed “an island of nonconformity 
in the Nazified body politic” which had withdrawn into “the tradi¬ 
tional ivory tower [that] ofFered the only possibility of security” 
during the Nazi rule. 12 

By 1946 the Pentagon’s Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency 
(JIOA) began pushing for a revised and bigger program of recruit¬ 
ing German scientists. (The JIOA, which was handling the Overcast 
program for the War Department, had superseded the earlier Com¬ 
bined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee, the group that had 
organized the capture of many of the scientists in the first place.) 
The JIOA now wanted 1,000 former enemy specialists. More impor¬ 
tant, it wanted authority to grant them American citizenship as an 
inducement to participate in the program. 

The Pentagon’s agency generally refused to ship back the Ger¬ 
man experts who were already in the United States. These men and 
women were now viewed as too valuable to return to Europe, 
particularly because many of the Overcast scientists already knew 
almost as much about several of America’s most secret military 
research programs as they did about Hitler’s. Letting such special¬ 
ists fall into Soviet hands back in Germany was seen as a serious 
security threat. 

The JIOA needed President Truman’s direct authorization pre¬ 
cisely because so many of the German scientists and technicians 



‘ Chosen, Rare Minds” 


35 


had once been Nazi party members and SS officers. U.S. immigra¬ 
tion laws at the time strictly prohibited entry into this country by 
any former Nazis. The fact that a person might have joined the Nazi 
party “involuntarily” or simply in order to advance his career could 
not be taken into account as the law then stood. What the JIOA and 
the War Department were asking for, in effect, was an exemption 
from this statute for up to 1,000 former enemy specialists. 

President Truman_ acc epted th e id ea of putting selected Ger^ 
mansTack tokvo rkon America's behalf d uring the coldwar, aJlong 
a sThe effort cou ld remain secret from the publicTAmerican govern¬ 
ment attitudes Uwa^ in geiTeral were changing as early as 

the spring of 1946. “In the beginning everyone was a hard-liner,” 
commented a former U.S. military government official engaged in 
Overcast who requested anonymity. “In the end, though, very few 
people were [hard-liners].” The recruitment of former Nazis 
through Overcast was not a dark conspiracy, he insisted, but rather 
what he termed “a natural process of learning what the role of the 
Nazi Party had been in Germany.” Among his own conclusions, this 
retired official said, is that a useful distinction could be made be¬ 
tween ordinary Nazis, on the one hand, and actual war criminals, 
on the other. Former Nazi party members could be put to profita¬ 
ble use by the United States, many of Truman’s top advisers be¬ 
lieved. War criminals, on the other hand, should be prosecuted. 

Truman authorized the JIOA’s plan in September 1946. He in¬ 
sisted that only “nominal” Nazis—that is, people who had joined 
the Nazi party out of what the Americans considered opportunistic 
motives—be permitted to participate in the program. Known or 
suspected war criminals were supposed to be strictly barred. The 
relevant presidential directive states in part: “No person found 
. . . to have been a member of the Nazi Party and more than a 
nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Na¬ 
zism or militarism shall be brought to the U.S. hereunder.” Even 
so, “position [or] honors awarded a specialist under the Nazi Re¬ 
gime solely on account of his scientific or technical abilities” would 
not disqualify a potential candidate. This program took the code 
name Paperclip. 13 

TrumarTk authorization did not define exactly what an “active 
supporter” was. Instead, it left the sorting out of former Nazis up 
to a secret panel made up of experts from the departments of State 
and Justice, who were required to rule directly on each scientist the 
JIOA wanted to bring to this country. The question of who was— 



36 BLOWBACK 


and who was not—an “active supporter of Nazism or militarism” 
soon became a highly politicized issue within the American na¬ 
tional security establishment. The decision often depended at least 
as much on the attitudes of the person who was judging as it did on 
the actual behavior of any given suspect. 

JIOA Director Bosquet Wev presented the first group of scien¬ 
tists’ dossiers to the U.S. departments of State and Justice for ap¬ 
proval about six months after Truman’s authorization of Paperclip. 
Wev’s files did not contain raw investigative reports on the German 
specialists’ activities, which might have permitted the outside agen¬ 
cies to decide for themselves about the characters of the recruits. 
Instead, the key document in each folder was a security report on 
each scientist filed by OMGUS (Office of Military Government— 
US), the U.S. occupation administration inside defeated Germany. 
The OMGUS report presented the gist of any earlier CIC investiga¬ 
tions into the specialist’s wartime activities. If OMGUS said the 
scientist had been an “ardent Nazi,” there was little prospect that 
he would ever be permitted into the United States. If it didn’t, he 
was probably home free. 

Wev’s job was to shepherd the experts’ dossiers past the review 
board responsible for ruling on scientists nominated for the Paper¬ 
clip program. Unfortunately for Wev, however, the State Depart¬ 
ment’s representative on the committee was Samuel Klaus, a stick¬ 
ler for detail who made no secret of his belief that Nazis—“ex-” or 
otherwise—were a threat to the United States. 

The OMGUS reports in Wev’s first batch of folders had been 
prepared by OMGUS agents who served in Germany prior to the 
rapid revision of American intelligence attitudes toward former 
Nazis that was then under way. The reports bluntly pointed out that 
some of Wev’s recruits, who had actually already entered the 
*1 j United States under Project Overcast, had been “ardent Nazis.” 
V 7 The records on other specialists on the Paperclip recruiting list 
J were not much better. Some of the experts were accused of par¬ 
ticipating in murderous medical experiments on human subjects at 
concentration camps, for example, and of brutalizing slave laborers. 
One was a fugitive from formal murder charges. Another was 
known to have established an institute for biological warfare ex¬ 
perimentation on humans in Poland. At least ha l f of Wev ^recruits, 
and probablymiore, were Nazi party"meffiberTor^SS veterans.^ 
"^Kfaus refusedto be a team player. UeTejected Wev’s first batch 



“Chosen, Rare Minds 


37 


of applicants, 14 arguing that accepting them was against Truman’s 
orders. 

The JIOA chief was furious. In a scathing secret memo he warned 
that returning his scientists to Germany “presents a far greater 
security threat to this country than any former Nazi affiliations 
which they may have had, or even any Nazi sympathies that they 
may still have.” Wev complained to Major General Stephen Cham¬ 
berlin, then the director of intelligence for the War Department 
general staff, that Klaus and another State Department official, Her¬ 
bert Cummings, were “sabotaging by delay” his efforts to import 
scientists. “The most positive and drastic action possible [must] be 
taken,” Wev insisted, “in order to break the impasse which cur¬ 
rently exists.” 15 

The solution to Wev’s problems proved to be surprisingly simple. 
If Klaus and Cummings would not accept the OMGUS dossiers as 
they were, then the files could be changed. In November of that 
year Wev’s deputy returned seven OMGUS folders to General 
Chamberlin with a note explaining that the JIOA did not believe 
it “advisable” to submit the candidates to State and Justice “at the 
present time.” Among the withheld records, it is worth noting, was 
Wernher von Braun’ s OMGUS report, which stated that the scien¬ 
tist was wanted for a denazification hearing because of his SS rec¬ 
ord, although he “was not a war criminal.” JIOA also held back its 
file~on Dornberger’s wartime chief of staff. Dr. Herbert Axster . 

Shortly thereafter JIOA Director Wev wired the director of intel¬ 
ligence at the U.S. European Command (EUCOM). His message 
was blunt: “[T]here is very little possibility that the State and Justice 
Departments will agree to immigrate any specialist who has been 
classified as an actual or potential security threat to the United 
States. This may result in the return [to] Germany of specialists 
whose skill and knowledge should be denied to other nations in the 
interest of national security.” Therefore, Wev concluded, “it is re¬ 
quested . . . that new security reports be submitted [emphasis 
added] where such action is appropriate” so that von Braun and his 
associates might be permitted to stay in the United States. 

OMGUS sent the new dossiers back from Germany a few weeks 
later. The offending language in each file had been changed. Von 
Braun and other leading specialists who had been initially held up 
because of their Nazi party and SS histories were now described as 
“not constituting] a security threat to the U.S.” 16 From that point 



38 BLOWBACK 


on OMGUS investigators didn’t send Washington any more reports 
that claimed its scientific recruits might be “security threats” be¬ 
cause of their service in Hitler Germany. Klaus and Cummings soon 
left the screening board, and Paperclip recruitment of German 
scientists ran smoothly for almost a decade. 

Von Braun insisted throughout this minor ordeal that his appoint¬ 
ment as an SS Sturmbannfiihrer in 1937 had been purely honorary 
and without political significance. Yet von Braun, like Dornberger, 
had every opportunity to know what was happening at Nord- 
hausen. Still, he continued to work industriously on behalf of the 
Reich until its final collapse. He tinkered away on the missiles’ 
design, adding special insulation to prevent the machines from 
blowing up in flight, then improving the guidance system so that a 
greater percentage of the V-2’s high-explosive warheads succeeded 
in hitting London. Like Dornberger, von Braun pushed for in¬ 
creased production from the slaves at Nordhausen. After the war, 
of course, von Braun asserted that he had been opposed to the 
National Socialist ideology all along. His real reason for working in 
the Nazi missile program, he said, had been the potential usefulness 
of his machines in “space travel.” 

Dornberger himself did not experience the immigration difficul¬ 
ties that von Braun did. He was permitted to enter the United 
States without State Department opposition even at the height of 
the 1947 controversy, much to the dismay of the British, who had 
been, after all, the target of Dornberger’s rockets. The British had 
held Dornberger as a POW for two years following the war, and 
they had made no secret of their desire to bring him to trial as a war 
criminal. Even the Americans had been leery of him at first but had 
gradually come around to believing him indispensable as the 
United States’ own military rocket program gradually got off the 
ground. In the end Dornberger appears to have slipped through 
Klaus’s and Cummings’s security screen because he had never been 
a member of the Nazi party or the SS. No party or SS membership 
meant that OMGUS did not investigate him as a “security threat,” 
and no negative report from OMGUS meant that he could enter the 
United States under Paperclip without opposition. 

Between 1945 and 1955, 765 scientists, engineers, and techni- 
ciarTs_were"brought to the United StateslIn HeFOvefc astrPap erclip, 
and two~Qt KeiFsimiIarpfog rarns. At least half, and perhaps as many 
aslffTpercent, of the imported specialists were former Nazi party 
members or SS men, according to Professor Clarence Lasby, who 



‘Chosen, Rare Minds” 


39 


has authored a book-length study of Paperclip. Three of these ex¬ 
perts, so far, have been forced out of the country. They are Georg 
Rickhey, a former official at the Nordhausen factory who arrived in 
1946 but who left the country in 1947 when he was tried (and 
acquitted) for war crimes by a U.S. military tribunal; Major General 
Walter Schreiber, who had once been instrumental in medical ex¬ 
periments on concentration camp inmates by the Luftwaffe (Ger¬ 
man air force) and who fled the United States in 1952 following an 
expose by columnist Drew Pearson; and Arthur Rudolph, another 
Nordhausen veteran who quietly moved to West Germany in 1984 
following the U.S. Department of Justice’s discovery of his role in 
the persecution of prisoners at the underground factory. 17 Rudolph 
is generally given credit for having been instrumental in organizing 
the construction of the powerful Saturn V rockets that launched 
America’s astronauts to the moon. 

Overcast and Paperclip were just the beginning. American intel¬ 
ligence agencies, which are, after all, research institutions of a sort, 
also wanted European specialists, just as the more conventional 
scientific laboratories did. The most fruitful potential source of new 
recruits for them was obviously the defeated intelligence agencies 
of Nazi Germany. 

But unlike the scientists, many of whom could plausibly claim not 
to have been personally involved in war crimes, veterans of Hitler’s 
clandestine services could hardly claim to have been ignorant of 
Nazi criminality. Hitler’s spy agencies had been at the cutting edge 
of Nazi efforts to locate and exterminate Jews, Communists, and 
other enemies of the German state throughout the war. 



CHAPTER FOUR 


The Man at Box 1142 


Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s most senior military intelligence officer 
on the eastern front, had begun planning his surrender to the 
United States at least as early as the fall of 1944. Germany’s inevita¬ 
ble defeat had become obvious by that time, and a number of senior 
Nazi security officers—including SS chief Heinrich Himmler and 
Himmler’s adjutant, SS General Karl Wolff—had also undertaken 
secret surrender plans. The common features in their tactics were, 
first, the offer of something of value to the Western Allies, like 
espionage information or a quick (though not necessarily uncondi¬ 
tional) surrender of German forces, and, second, an attempt to 
create an alibi that downplayed their participation in war crimes 
and genocide. The price tag for their cooperation with the West, 
they hoped, was insulation from prosecution. In the end Gehlen, 
Wolff, and several h undred other senior German officers succeeded 
in making deals witnBritain or the United States, while a smaller 
number of top-ranking Nazis, apparently several score, made their 
peace with the USSR and its Eastern European satellites. 

General Gehlen, however, proved to be the most important of 
them all. He was a scrawny man—at five feet eight and a half inches 
he weighed less than 130 pounds at the time of his surrender—with 
an arrogant demeanor and a violent temper that got worse as he 
grew older. But he also had extraordinary powers of concentration 


40 



The Man at Box 1142 41 


and a jeweler’s attention to detail, both of which served him well 
in his remarkable thirty-seven-year career as a spy master. 

In early March 1945 Gehlen and a small group of his most senior 
officers carefully microfilmed the vast holdings on the USSR in the 
Fremde Heere Ost (FHO), the military intelligence section of the 
German army’s general staff. They packed the film in watertight 
steel drums and secretly buried it in remote mountain meadows 
scattered through the Austrian Alps. Then, on May 22, 1945, 
Gehlen and his top aides surrendered to an American Counterintel¬ 
ligence Corps team. 

Luck was with them. Captain John Bokor was assigned as their 
interrogator at Camp King, near Oberursel, in the American occu¬ 
pation zone. Bokor had been interned by the Germans early in the 
war, had been treated well, and had later served as an interrogator 
of captured German officers at Fort Hunt near Washington, D.C. 
Though he was unquestionably anti-Nazi, Bokor’s contact with the 
German officer corps had left him with a certain amount of respect 
for the enemy and a disdain for the narrow-minded anti-German¬ 
ism of many American officers of the time. He was, as Gehlen 
recalled later, “the first American officer I met with expert knowl¬ 
edge of Russia and with no illusions about the way political events 
were turning . . . we became close friends and have remained so.” 1 
During the weeks following Bokor’s new assignment Gehlen gradu¬ 
ally laid his cards on the table. Not only did the former Wehrmacht 
general know where the precious archives were buried, but he had 
also maintained the embryo of an underground espionage organiza¬ 
tion that could put the records to work against the USSR. Captain 
Bokor was interested. 

There were serious obstacles to the plan. For one thing, the U.S. 
command mistrusted any type of deals offered by desperate Ger¬ 
mans. For another, the Yalta agreements required the United 
States to turn over to the Russians captured Axis officers who had 
been involved in “eastern area activities” in exchange for Soviet 
help in returning the thousands of American POWs who had been 
picked up by the Red Army. 

According to Gehlen’s memoirs. Captain Bokor decided to pro¬ 
ceed on his own, regardless of official policy. He kept the details of 
Gehlen’s offer secret from the other Americans at the interrogation 
center and worked quietly to remove the names of Gehlen’s senior 
command from the official lists of POWs in U.S. hands. Bokor and 



42 BLOWBACK 


Colonel William R. Philp (chief of the CIC’s sprawling interrogation 
headquarters at Camp King) arranged for seven senior Gehlen 
officers to be transferred to the camp, where they were constituted 
as a “historical study group” supposedly working on a report on the 
German general staff. Gehlen’s precious cache of records was 
located and shipped to the interrogation center under such secrecy 
that not even the CIC’s chain of command was informed of what 
was being born at Dulag Luft, as the Germans called the garrison. 
“Bokor feared ..Gehlen related thirty years later, “that if he had 
reported our existence too early to [U.S. headquarters at] Frankfurt 
and the Pentagon, we might have become exposed to hostile forces 
[within the U.S. chain of command] and then we would have been 
beyond salvation. I now know . . . that Captain Bokor was acting on 
his own” during the earliest days. 2 

By the end of the summer, however, Bokor had won the support 
of Generals Edwin Sibert and Walter Bedell Smith , respectively the 
highest ranking U.S. Army intelligence officer in Europe and the 
chief of staff of the Supreme Allied Command. General William 
\W “Wild Bill”) Donovan a nd Allen Dulles o f America s wartime clam 
. destine operations agency,The~Offine’”of Strategic Services (OSS), 
were also tipped off about Gehlen’s offer by a Dulles double agent 
^ inside the German Foreign Office. The OSS was soon jockeying 
with U.S. military intelligence for institutional authority over 
Gehlen’s microfilmed records and, before long, over control of the 
German spy master himself. 

Sibert shipped Gehlen and three of his assistants to Washington, __ 
D.C., for debriefing in August 1945. By December Sibert had won 
permission to proceed “under his own authority” with financing 
and exploitation of the German’s espionage group. In the jargon of 
the spy trade, Sibert became a “cutout,” in effect, for the policy¬ 
makers in Washington—that is, Sibert could have his German op¬ 
eration, but if it went sour, he would be the one to take the blame. 
At the same time, however, Dulles’s Secret Intelligence Branch 
(SIB) of the OSS enjoyed direct liaison with Gehlen. Frank Wisner, 
a dashing young Wall Street lawyer who had distinguished himself 
in underground OSS intrigues in Istanbul and Bucharest, headed 
the coordinating team. 3 * 


*Frank Wisner’s Special Intelligence Branch staff, which was engaged in work with 
Gehlen, had more than its share of brilliant operatives who were to leave their marks on the 
history of U.S. espionage. They included Richard Helms, for example, later to become CIA 
deputy director for clandestine operationVnrTn^ventu3lf>^ agency director under Presidents 



The Man at Box 1142 43 


oH-U 

The documentation that might establish exactly how much Presi-j 
dent Truman knew about American recruitment of Gehlen and hisl 
organization r emains c lassified. It is known, however, that the Sovi¬ 
ets made vigorous protests against this secret agreement at least as 
early as the Potsdam Conference; thus it is unlikely that the matter 
escaped Truman’s attention altogether. Considering the senior sta¬ 
tus of Donovan, Dulles, Sibert, and the other U.S. intelligence offi¬ 
cers known to have been directly involved, and considering that 
two competing American intelligence bureaucracies were attempt¬ 
ing to share Gehlen’s archives, it is reasonable to suspect that the 
president had been well briefed about this operation. Further, the 
extreme political sensitivity inevitably involved in recruiting an 
enemy spy chief for missions against a country that was still officially 
an ally of the United States suggests that Truman’s personal ap¬ 
proval may well have been necessary before full-scale exploitation 
of the German general began. Either way, it is clear that before a 
year was out, the Americans had freed Gehlen and most of his high 
command, then installed them in a former Waffen SS training facil¬ 
ity near Pullach, Germany, which has remained the group’s head¬ 
quarters to this da y. ? 

A sampling of Gehlen’s earliest reports is illustrative of much of 
the German espionage chief s work during his first years of work for 
U.S. intelligence. According to a newly discovered secret summary 
of Gehlen’s interrogation at “Box 1142”—the coded address for 
Fort Hunt, outside Washington, D.C.—Gehlen’s first reports con¬ 
sisted of a detailed history of the German intelligence service on 
the eastern front, followed by a thirty-five-page summary on “De¬ 
velopment of the Russian High Command and Its Conception of 
Strategy.” By August 1945 new reports on Soviet land war tactics 
and the political commissar system within the Red Army had been 
completed. 

Gehlen’s case officer at 1142 waxed enthusiastic about the 
“potentialities [of] future reports” and offered a closely typed list of 
twenty-eight new intelligence studies based on Gehlen and his 
hoard of records that were to be available within a few weeks. 
Every one of them concerned the USSR. They included surveys of 
Russian tanks, manpower, war production, propaganda, the Soviet 

Johnson and Nixon; Willi am Casey , CIA director under President Reagan; Harry Rositzke, 
soon to become chieForClAcIandestine operations inside the USSR and later CIA chief of 
station in India; and, of course, Wisner himself, soon to be chief of ail American clandestine 
warfare operations worldwide. 



44 BLOWBACK 


secret police (the NKVD), “employment of German methods . . . 
[for] evaluation of various new information received by the US,” 
and “suggestions as to the employment of sources for gathering 
information in the Central European Sector.” 4 

One would imagine that some U.S. intelligence officer must have 
asked Gehlen exactly how he had obtained his information, but the 
record of this inquiry, if it took place, has yet to appear. Instead, the 
source of Gehlen’s data is simply referred to in the secret U.S. 
records that have surfaced as “Gehlen” himself or as “Gehlen’s 
organization.” 

In reality, Gehlen derived much of his information from his role 
in one of the most terrible atrocities of the war: the torture, interro¬ 
gation, and murder by starvation of some 4 million Soviet prisoners 
of war. Even Gehlen’s defenders—and there are many of them, 
both in Germany and in the United States—acknowledge he was 
instrumental in organizing the interrogations of these POWs. The 
success of this interrogation program from the German military’s 
point of view became, in fact, the cornerstone of Gehlen’s career. 
It won him his reputation as an intelligence officer and his major 
general’s rank. 

But these same interrogations were actually a step in the liquida¬ 
tion of tens of thousands of POWs. Prisoners who refused to cooper¬ 
ate were often tortured or summarily shot. Many were executed 
even after they had given information, while others were simply 
left to starve to death. True, Gehlen’s men did not personally ad¬ 
minister the starvation camps, nor are they known to have served 
in the execution squads. Such tasks were left to the SS, whose 
efficiency in such matters is well known. 

Instead, Gehlen’s men were in a sense like scientists who 
skimmed off the information and documents that rose to the surface 
of these pestilent camps. Now and again they selected an interest¬ 
ing specimen: a captured Russian general ready to collaborate, 
perhaps, or a Ukrainian railroad expert who might supply the loca¬ 
tions of vulnerable bridges when given some encouragement to 
talk. Gehlen’s officers were scientists in somewhat the same way 
that concentration camp doctors were: Both groups extracted their 
data from the destruction of human beings. 5 

Gehlen officially promised the Americans after the war that he 
would refuse “on principle” to employ former SS, SD, and Gestapo 
men in his new intelligence operation. His reassurances are not 
surprising; those groups had been declared criminal organizations 



The Man at Box 1142 45 


by the Supreme Allied Command in Europe during the war, and 
every former member was subject to immediate arrest. By 1946 
these groups had been convicted as organizational perpetrators of 
war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Nuremberg tribu¬ 
nal, and the earlier assertion of criminality had taken on the force 
of international law. 

But Gehlen’s reassurances on the SS issue proved to be false. At 
least a half dozen—and probably more—of his first staff of fifty 
officers were former SS or SD men, including SS Obersturmfiihrer 
Hans Sommer (who had set seven Paris synagogues to the torch in 
October 1941), SS Standartenfuhrer Willi Krichbaum (senior Ge¬ 
stapo leader in southeastern Europe), and SS Sturmbannfuhrer 
Fritz Schmidt (Gestapo chief in Kiel, Germany), each of whom was 
given responsible positions in the new Organisation Gehlen. 6 The 
earliest SS recruits were enlisted with phony papers and false 
names; Gehlen could, if necessary, deny that he had known that 
they had Nazi pasts. 

It is reasonable to suspect that some Americans were aware of 
this ruse. It is, after all, the job of any professional intelligence 
officer to learn everything there is to know about the groups on 
his payroll and to collect information concerning his contract 
agents that might reveal their loyalty. General Sibert, who by 
then had become the leading American sponsor of the Gehlen 
Organization, had not gotten to be chief of U.S. Army intelligence 
in Germany by being naive. It is hard to believe that Gehlen 
would have attempted to trick Sibert if the American had bluntly 
asked the German general if he was employing SS men; such de¬ 
ceit would have seriously undermined Gehlen’s credibility had he 
been caught in the lie. The most likely scenario, according to in¬ 
telligence veterans of the period, is one that repeated itself over 
and over again at virtually every level of contact between U.S. 
intelligence and former Nazis. Quite simply, Sibert knew what 
was going on—but didn’t ask. 

“Nobody had legalized, really, the functions of intelligence in 
those days,” says Lieutenant Colonel John Bokor, the son of the man 
who first recruited Gehlen and a career intelligence officer in his 
own right. “Today maybe things have changed, but back then the 
intelligence agent was on his own. . . . There just wasn’t any sheet 
music for us all to sing from in those days. That’s how a lot of those 
guys [former Nazis] got hired/” 7 



46 BLOWBACK 


* * * 

Nazis and co llaborators became integral to the operation of 
Gehlen’s postwar organization, and nowhere was this clearer than 
in control of emigre op erations. As early as 1946 Gehlen had 
resumeHTinTifed tun3n^oftKe^Vlasov Army, the Ukrainian under¬ 
ground army OUN/UPA, and collaborationist leaders of other exile 
groups originally sponsored by Berlin. The cooperation of these 
groups was seen as crucial to successful interrogations of newly 
arrived refugees in the displaced persons (DP) camps. Although it 
is certainly true that the majority of the postwar refugees in Ger¬ 
many were not Nazi collaborators and had not committed war 
crimes, it is also true that the minority who had done such things 
were exactly the ones who were carefully sought out by the “Org,” 
as Gehlen’s group has since come to be known. “The main source 
of informers,” noted a secret Gehlen study on recruitment of that 
time, “will ... be the refugees from German minorities and ex¬ 
members of the Nazi organization.” 8 

By the end of 1947 Gehlen had restored, for the most part, the 
lines of command that Berlin had once used to control its assets 
inside the collaborationist organizations during the war. Two SS 
veterans, Fran z Six an d Emil Augsburg , took charge of essential 
aspects of emigre work for Gehlen. The careers of these Gehlen 
men illustrate the depth of the Nazi influence both within the Org 
and in the emigre organizations it had penetrated. 

Each of them was a veteran of A mt VI (“Department 6”) of the 
SS RSHA, Nazi Germany’s main security headquarters. This SS 
section had been a combined foreign intelligence, sabotage, and 
propaganda agency and was, in effect, 

By war’s end SS RSHA Amt VI had consolIBalednotc>nly TheTor- 
eign sections of the Nazis’ police intelligence apparatus but military 
intelligence (Abwehr), Gehlen’s own FHO, and much of the Nazi 
party’s internal foreign espionage network as well. Amt VI was an 
extraordinarily rich collection of trained agents, intelligence files, 
saboteurs, and propagandists. Both Gehlen and the United States 
dre\v _ manv r most vafuaHlaT'ecfuitsFrmFuhl^^ rtm ent 

after the war. Its hoard of files on the USSR and Eastern Europe, 
imparticula r, wa^witHout equal anywhere. “ 

There was another sideToTE^agency: Most of AmtJVTsJop._ 

officershadjDeenJnstrumenta^i^ 

'BotFSix and AugsburgRadTed mobile killing squads on the eastern 



The Man at Box 1142 47 


front. Others had participated in the Holocaust as administrators, 


paper shufflers, and idea men. 

Gehlen’s man in emigre enterprises, SS Brigadefuhrer Fraazjfix, 
is a majo r war criminal an d_is_still alive at lastjreport. He was once 
descnbed'^by'Adolf Eichmannas~a ^StreUer (a “real eager beaver”) 



on the so-called Jewish Question and as a favored protege of SS 


chief Himmler’s. Eichmann should have known: His own first 


efforts in the Holocaust were carried out under Six’s personal com¬ 
mand in the “Ideological Combat” section of the security service. 
In 1941 Six led the Vorkommando Moskau, an advance squad of the 
Nazi invasion, whose job it was to seize Communist party and 
NKVD archives in order to compile lists of hunted Soviet officials 
and to liquidate those who were caught. Six’s Vorkommando never 
made it to Moscow, but his own reports indicate that his unit mur¬ 
dered approximately 200 people in cold blood in Smolensk, where 
they had stopped on the march to the Russian capital. The Smo¬ 
lensk victims, Six wrote headquarters, included “46 persons, among 
them 38 intellectual Jews who had tried to create unrest and dis¬ 
content in the newly established Ghetto of Smolensk.” 

As late as 1944 Six spoke at a conference of “consultants” on the 
“Jewish Question” at Krummhiibel. The stenographic notes of the 
meeting indicate that “Six spoke . . . about the political structure 
of world Jewry. The physical elimination of Eastern Jewry would 
deprive Jewry of its biological reserves , ” he announced. “The Jew¬ 
ish Question must be solved not only in Germany but also interna¬ 
tionally ” (emphasis added). 9 Himmler was so pleased with Six’s 
work that he lifted him out of projects in Amt VI and gave him a 
newly created department, Amt VII, of his own. 

But Six was not simply a kille r. He was a colle ge pro fegsor with 
a docto rate in lavva ndpolitical science ancT^nd^n oft ^~facultyj of 
t he University of Berlin and was regarded by someofhis peers as 
one o f the most distinguished p rofessors of his ge neration . Six—Dr. 
Six, as he preferred—had joined the Nazi party in 1930, then the 


SS and SD a few years later. He was, al ong with Walter Schellen - 
berg and O tto Ohlendorf, one of the n aziffedprofessorrand la wyers 
who supplied at hin coveroF intellectuaTrespectability to thej jitler 
d ictatorshi p. A numTJer of su ch meiT ehlisteff in the security service 
and be came the brain s o f the party, the intelligence specialists who 
presented dispassionate analy ses to the Nazi high command con¬ 
cerning ideological w arfare, racial questions in the East, and tactics 


for the Final Solution. 






48 BLOWBACK 


One of Six’s most important projects in Amt VI was the Wannsee 
Institute, an SS think tank located near beautiful Lake Wannsee in 
the suburbs of Berlin. This was the SS’s most sophisticated elfort to 
gather strategic (i.e., long-term or long-range) intelligence on the 
USSR. It included collection and analysis of details on Soviet de¬ 
fense production capabilities, for example, activities at scientific 
research institutes, details of five-year plans, locations of oil and 
^mineral deposits, identities of party officials, as well as the hoarding 
oTTlussuin"maps and technical books of every description. 

Wannsee’s work also involved, in characteristically Nazi fashion, 
studies of the location and size of the various ethnic groups in the 
USSR. Wannsee’s highly secret reports were distributed to fewer 
than fifteen persons at the very top of the Nazi government, includ¬ 
ing General Gehlen (in his capacity as military intelligence chief on 
the eastern front), propaganda boss Paul Joseph Goebbels, and Hit¬ 
ler himself. The studies, which were among the most reliable infor¬ 
mation on the USSR produced by the Reich, were essential to the 
process of setting military strategy and selection of targets on the 
eastern front. The ethnic reports, which were the most accurate 
information available to the SS concerning locations of concentra¬ 
tions of Jewish population inside the USSR, provided a convenient 
road map for the senior SS leaders assigned the task of exterminat¬ 
ing Jews.* 

Most of the twenty-man staff at Wannsee were defectors from the 
USSR or scholars in Soviet studies from top German universities. It 
was this group that Gehlen sought out after the war to form the 
heart of his staff for emigre operations aimed at Eastern Europe and 
the Soviet Union. At least one Wannsee veteran, Nikolai N. Poppe, 
li ves in the U nited States to day. 1 0 

Dr. Six wassoughtTor warcrimes after the fall of Berlin. He went 
to work for Gehlen in 1946, however, and was given the task of 
combing the Stuttgart-Schorndorf area for unemployed German 
intelligence veterans who might be interested in new assignments. 

*The Wannsee Institute also provided the setting for the January 1942 meeting in which 
SS leader Reinhard Heydrich announced the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” to 
representatives of other branches of the German government. That gathering was the first 
time that Adolf Eichmann, then an enthusiastic young SS officer, had met quite so many 
“high personages,” he was to remember. Eichmann’s recollections of the Wannsee session—a 
crucial watershed in the development of the Holocaust—are almost rhapsodic: “[A]fter the 
conference, [then SS chief] Heydrich, [Gestapo leader] Mueller and your humble servant sat 
cozily around a fireplace,” Eichmann noted later. “I noticed for the first time that Heydrich 
was smoking. Not only that, he had cognac... . We sat around peacefully after our Wannsee 
Conference, not just talking shop but giving ourselves a rest after so many taxing hours.” 



The Man at Box 1142 49 


Unfortunately for Six, however, one of his subagents was a certain 
SS Hauptsturmfiihrer Hirschfeld, who was also working for a joint 
U.S.-British operation tracing fugitive war criminals. Hirschfeld be¬ 
trayed Six to the American CIC, which disregarded his protests and 
charged him with several war crimes, including murder. Once the 
capture of Six had been announced in the newspapers, there was 
little that Gehlen—or Gehlen’s U.S. patron, General Sibert—could 
do for Six, at least not publicly. Six was tried before an American 
military tribunal in 1948, convicted of war crimes (including the ^-r t 
murders in Smolensk), and sentenced to t wenty years in prison . Q u Dj 

The man who led the team of U.S. prosecutors at his trial, Benja- b-U 7 ' 
min Ferencz, remembers Six as a “clever man, one of the biggest 
swine in the whole [mobile killing squads] case.... Personally, I had 
more respect even for Ohlendorf, because he said, ‘Yes, I did it 
[commit mass murder].’ Six, on the other hand, would say, ‘Who 
me? They were killing Jews? I had no idea!’ ” n 

In the end, Six served about fou r ye ars in pris on before being 
given clemency by ILS. Hi gh~GommissIoner in Ger many Johrf* ' A 
McCloy. Even if the Americans had not known who Sixwas when 
tie went to work for the Gehlen Organization in 1946, they could 
hardly plead ignorance after having convicted him in a U.S. mili¬ 
tary tribunal. Nevertheless, McCloy’s clemency board specifically 
approved the former SS man for work in the Org, and Six was back 
at work in Gehlen’s Pullach headquarters only weeks after his re¬ 
lease from prison.* 12 

The second important member of Gehlen’s eastern affairs staff 
was Dr. Emil Augsburg, a former SS Standartenfiihrer from 
Himmler’s staff in Poland. Augsburg, like Eichmann, had begun his 
career in Six’s “Ideological Combat” section in the SD, where, ac¬ 
cording to an account found in SD records, he had become adept 
at using Jew baiting to smear political opponents within the SS by 
claiming they had Jewish ancestors. 

During the war Augsburg led a murder squad in German-occu¬ 
pied Russia, according to his Nazi party membership records. He 
obtained “extraordinary results ... in special tasks” during the 
invasion, 13 as a recommendation in his personnel dossier puts it. 
(“Special tasks,” in SS parlance, is generally a euphemism for the 

*In 1961 Six gave testimony as a defense witness during Adolf Eichmann’s trial for crimes 
against humanity. Six had retired from the Gehlen Organization by that time and $vas 
employed as an agent for Porsche automobiles . Eichmann was a department head for Por¬ 
sche’s rival, Daimler-Benz. ** 


50 BLOWBACK 


mass murder of Jews.) The SS found him to be an “absolutely trust¬ 
worthy National Socialist” and appointed him a Direktor at Wann- 
see, overseeing the highly successful index of Soviet personalities 
used to target intelligence gathering and behind-the-lines assassina¬ 
tions—a job he later did for the Gehlen Organization as well. Augs¬ 
burg was no mere technician, however. Under Six’s and Wannsee 
Direktor Mikhail Akhmeteli’s* tutelage, he became recognized as 
one of the Nazi regime’s most influential experts on Eastern 
Europe. Although never a public figure, Augsburg maintained this 
reputation among German foreign policy cognoscenti after the war 
as well. 

The Gehlen Organization’s ability subtly to manipulate other 
intelligence agencies is clearly illustrated by Augsburg’s career in 
the first years after the war. In addition to his work for Gehlen, 
Augsburg was simultaneously employed by the U.S. Ar my Coun- 
terintelligence~C!bfp§r§rU.S. mflifaiyintelllgencelinit known as the 
Technical Intelligence Branch (TIB) that was supposedly interested 
only in German scientists but was actually also recruiting former 
German intelligence agents; a French intelligence agency; and a 
private network of ex-SS officers headed by former SS General 

^Professor Mikhail Akhmeteli was a third noteworthy member of Gehlen’s postwar emigre 
affairs apparatus that had been drawn from the staff of the SS’s Wannsee Institute. During 
the war Akhmeteli led much of the work involved in compiling lists of Soviet officials slated 
for execution, related strategic counterintelligence operations, and development of Nazi 
racial theory as it applied to peoples of Eastern Europe. His personal contributions to the 
latter field included a theory (which Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg eventually adopted) 
that the Georgians in the south of the USSR were “Russia’s Germans” and as such were 
suitably “superior” SS recruits for use against Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and other “racially in¬ 
ferior” peoples. It was on the basis of this work that Akhmeteli becani e on e of the very few 
non-A ryans admitted to the Nazi party—quite an honor in Germany of thattime. Hisparty 
IiunTBer was 5360855^““' 

Akhmeteli was the son of an oil-rich Georgian family that had been dispossessed during 
the 1917 Russian Revolution. He helped finance the White Army’s resistance to the Bol¬ 
sheviks for a time but was eventually forced to flee to Germany. There he established an 
anti-Communist center^for Soviet st udies at the University of Breslau that eventually 
emerged as the seat of the most comprehensive collection of matenalJon'the USSR outside 
the Soviet Union. In time the Breslau collection became the heart of the SS archives on the 
USSR, complete with a card file index of notable Soviet personalities and an extensive 
collection of information on Soviet railroads, industry, communications, and other infrastruc¬ 
ture. 

The Georgian became one of the primary liaisons between the SS team at Wannsee and 
Gehlen’s military intelligence headquarters in the East. After the war Gehlen provided 
Akhmeteli with a ch alet near U nterweilbach purchased with Uj. funds drawn fr pjm hi$ 
discretionary a ecoun tAkhmeteliT"a restless~stuh>by figure with deep-set eyes and a fleshy 
^otatcrof-a'Tiose) was one of the very few' men welcomed for visits in Gehlen’s home. 



The Man at Box 1142 51 


Bernau, 14 all of whom appear to have been aware that Augsburg 
was a fugitive from war crimes charges. 

Augsburg’s specialty was the use of emigres and defectors to 
collect information on the East. According to top secret U.S. CIC 
records, the Bernau SS network provided Augsburg with U.S. EEIs 
(essential elements of information) that served as a shopping list of 
information the Western Allies were most interested in buying. 
Augsburg then acted as gatekeeper for exchange of information 
among groups of informants working for each of his employers, a 
position that permitted him to promote selected information or to 
“confirm independently” a report that he himself had placed 
through another informant network. Theoretically Augsburg’s pri¬ 
mary loyalty could have been to any one of his employers, to the 
Soviets, or to anyone else. His subsequent lifelong devotion to the 
Org, however, makes it clear that he was first and foremost a 
Gehlen man. 

Augsburg’s postwar work for Gehlen’s organization was an exten¬ 
sion of what he had done for the SS at Wannsee: administration of 
the painstaking compilation of extraordinarily detailed records on 
the USSR. One specialty was preparation of remarkable cover sto¬ 
ries for Gehlen agents scheduled to cross into the Soviet Union on 
both espionage and covert action missions. These “legends” in¬ 
cluded not only false documentation, such as travel passes and food 
ration books, but also carefully prepared stories of families, jobs, and 
events that appeared genuine but would be impossible for Soviet 
police officials to check. Details of geography, climate, local culture, 
even jokes were carefully collected and cataloged to provide realis¬ 
tic cover stories. 15 Augsburg and Six maintained close relations 
after the war with the emigre groups that had been supported by 
Berlin and assisted in the selectior L&fi& gents that were used by the 
CIA in behind-the-lines operations in Eastern Europe." 



CHAPTER FIVE 


The Eyes and Ears 


Of all the networks of former Nazis and collaborators employed by 
the United States after World War II, it is Gehlen’s organization 
that has left the most substantial imprint on the United States. 
Gehlen’s analysis of the forces that guide Soviet behavior, which 
were forged in part by his personal defeat at the hands of the 
Russians during World War II, became widely accepted in U.S. 
intelligence circles and remain so to this day. ^ 

Gehlen’s singular error, says Arthur Macy Cox, a career S oviet 
affairs analyst who has served with both theClA^n<fthe~I5epaiU 
flreff Tdf State, is that he"presented._th e^Utic al threa t posedTEytKe 
USSlUasTHough it were an immi nenCmilTtary pro blem , thus “in¬ 
gratiating himself,” asT^oF'pTrtS'rtT^with~ ffie~uhreconsFructed cold 
warr iors in the Pentagon and o n Capitol Hil l.” 1 Gehlen’s influential 
intelligehce - ^i3~analysisalso strongly reinforced the “Communist 
conspiracy” model of foreign affairs, in which the hand of the 
Kremlin could be seen in almost every labor dispute and student 
strike on the Continent. 

It is probably impossible to determine with certainty the extent 
to which Gehlen influenced American policymakers’ decisions con¬ 
cerning European affairs during the cold war. The complex, dy¬ 
namic relationship between information gathering, analysis, and 
policy-making is difficult to deduce under the best conditions. In 
Gehlen’s case the problem is still more recondite as a result of the 


52 


The Eyes and Ears 53 


layers of secrecy that surround nearly every aspect of his long 
relationship with the Americans. Neither the West German nor the 
U.S. government is known to have released official documentation 
concerning Gehlen’s work on behalf of U.S. agencies, although 
there have, of course, been leaks. Source material on the subject is 
often limited to the recollections and memoirs of persons who par¬ 
ticipated in these events, some of whom have requested anonymity 
in exchange for cooperation. 

Gehlen’s impact on the course of the cold war was subtle, but 
real. Self-avowed pragmatists in the U.S. intelligence services have 
consistently argued that the otherwise questionable employment of 
Gehlen and even of unrepentant Nazis through the Org was jus¬ 
tified by their significant contributions to fighting a powerful and 
ruthless rival: the Soviet Union. “He’s on our side,” CIA Directory 
Allen Dulles later said of Gehlen, “and that’s all that matters.” L 

During the first decade following the war t he Un ited S tates spent J 
at leas t $200 million a nd employ ed about 4,0 00 pe opleTull-time to , / 
resurr ect Gehlen’s organization from the wreckageofthe / war, ° 
according to generally accepted estimates. 2 The Org became the 
most important eyes and ears for U.S. intelligence inside the closed 
societies of the Soviet bloc. “In 1946 [U.S.] intelligence files on the 
Soviet Union were virtually empty,” says Harry Rositzke, the CIA’s 
former chief of espionage inside the Soviet Union. “Even the most 
elementary facts were unavailable—on roads and bridges, on the 
location and production of factories, on city plans and airfields.” 
Rositzke worked closely with Gehlen during the formative years of 
the CI A and credits Gehlen’s organization witKqplaying a “primary 
role” in filling the empty file folders during that period. 3 

Intelligence gathered by the Org was “essential to American 
interests,” assertsjW. Park Armstrong, the longtime head of the 
Office of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State. 
“Our German ally’s contribution to knowledge of the Soviet mili¬ 
tary was at times a standard against which we measured our own 
efforts.” 

During the first years of the CIA under Rear Admiral Roscoe H. 
HillenkoetteU s administration, according to a retired executive of 
the CIA’s Office of National Estimates, Gehlen’s reports and analy¬ 
ses were sometimes simply retyped onto CIA stationery and pre¬ 
sented to President Truman without further comment in the 
agency’s morning intelligence summaries. Gehlen’s organization 
“shaped what we knew about the Soviets in Eastern Europe and 



54 BLOWBACK 


particularly about East Germany,” he continued. Heinz Hohne, an 
internationally recognized historian and senior editor at Der Spie¬ 
gel magazine, asserts that “seventy percent of all the U.S. govern¬ 
ment’s information on Soviet forces and armaments came from the 
Gehlen organization” during the early cold war. While any such 
precise number is bound to be arbitrary, the thrust of Hohne’s 
comment is certainly accurate. 4 

Contrary to the accepted wisdom, however, U.S. dependence on 
Gehlen’s organization for intelligence on the Soviet military was 
quite likely a blunder from a strictly practical point of view. For one 
thing, enlisting Gehlen was in itself a substantial escalation of the 
cold war that undermined what little hope was possible for East- 
West cooperation during the pivotal years of 1945 to 1948. Once on 
board, Gehlen’s Nazi-tainted operatives often gave the Soviets an 
easy target for denunciations of war criminals being sheltered by 
the West. This has since become a highly successful Soviet propa¬ 
ganda theme—in part because there is some truth to it—that is 
replayed regularly to this day as a means of undermining U.S. and 
West German relations with Eastern Europe. Financing Gehlen’s 
organization also appears to have made infiltration of Western in¬ 
telligence by Soviet spies easier, not more difficult, as will be seen. 
Most important, Gehlen’s operatives and analysts strongly rein¬ 
forced U.S. intelligence’s existing predilection toward p aranoia 
about communism and t he USSR, contributing significantly to the 
creation of a body of widely believed misinformation about Soviet 
behavior. 

“Gehlen had to make his money by creating a threat that we 
were afraid of,” says Victor Marchetti, formerly the CIA’s chief 
analyst of Soviet strategic war plans and capabilities, “so we would 
give him more money to tell us about it.” He continues: “In my 
opinion, the Gehlen Organization provided nothing worthwhile for 
understanding or estimating Soviet military or political capabilities 
in Eastern Europe or anywhere else.” Employing Gehlen was “a 
waste of time, money, and effort, except that maybe he had some 
Cl [counterintelligence] value, because practically everybody in his 
organization was sucking off both tits.” 5 In other words, Gehlen did 
noFprodlTceF:herehable~ information for which he was employed, 
but careful monitoring of the Org might have produced some clues 
to Soviet espionage activity because the groupjiad be en deep lv_ 
penetrated by double agents, thus givingTfieTtTHrted States a vast ly 



The Eyes and Ears 55 

expensive and not very efficient means of keeping up with Soviet 
spies? 

“The Gehlen Organization was the one group that did have net¬ 
works inside Eastern Europe, and that is why we hired them,” 
international affairs expert Arthur Macy Cox says. “[But] hiring 
Gehlen was the biggest mistake the U.S. ever made. Our allies said, 
‘You are putting Nazis at the senior levels of yo ur intelligence ,’ and 
they were right."it discreBited~tKFnDmfed ~Stat es^’’ According to 
Cox, the Gehlen Organization was the primary source of intelli¬ 
gence that claimed that “the Soviets were about to attack [West] 
Germany. . . . [That was] the biggest bunch of baloney then, and it 
is still a bunch of baloney today.” 6 

The crucial period of 1945 to 1948, when East-West relations 
moved from a wary peace to an intense political war, provides one 
case study of the damage that Gehlen’s intelligence and analysis 
could produce. Among the most basic elements in the American 
interpretation of European events during the early cold war years 
was the evaluation of the Red Army. That subject, it will be re¬ 
called, was Gehlen’s specialty. 

In mid-1946 U.S. military intelligence correctly reported that the 
Red Army (then in control of most of Eastern Europe) was un¬ 
derequipped, overextended, and war-weary. Its estimate of the 
number of Soviet troops in Eastern and Central Europe was quite 
high—some 208 divisions—but the U.S. Army concluded that these 
forces were almost entirely tied down with administrative, police, 
and reconstruction tasks in the Russian-occupied zone. Soviet mili¬ 
tary aggression against Western Europe was highly unlikely for at 
least a decade, if only for logistical reasons, the army determined. 

Particularly intriguing were 1946 U.S. Army reports concerning 
railroads in eastern Germany. The Red Army, it was well known, 
lacked the motorized strength of Western forces and relied heavily 
on the railroads to move troops to the front and for logistic sup¬ 
port.* The U.S. Army intelligence reports drawn from military at¬ 
taches inside the Soviet zone, from the U.S. strategic bombing sur¬ 
vey research teams in Eastern Europe and from other on-the-spot 
reports prior to the Soviet decision to close its occupation zone to 

*As late as 1950 fully half of the Soviets’ transport for their standing army was horse-drawn. 
This actually had some advantages in the trackless frozen north, where Russian ponies were 
useful long after tanks and trucks had frozen up or bogged down in snowdrifts. Western 
Europe, however, was quite a different place. 



56 BLOWBACK 


the West made it clear that the Russians were tearing up much of 
the German railroad network and shipping it back to the USSR as 
war reparations. The Soviets uprooted about a third of the entire 
German railway system, including such strategic lines as Berlin- 
Leipzig and Berlin-Frankfurt, seizing train yards, switches, and 
thousands of miles of track. 7 Whatever else may be said of this form 
of Russian industrial development, it was clearl y not the-behayinr 
o f a military power contem plating a blitzkrieg ^attaclc. 

Over the next two years, however, the U.S. appraisal of the 
capabilities and intentions of the Red Army fundamentally shifted, 
and this change was pushed along by misleading reports and mis¬ 
taken warnings from the Gehlen Organization. By the time the 
reappraisal was over, it had become an article of faith in Washing¬ 
ton, D.C., that the war-weary Soviet occupation forces were actu¬ 
ally fresh assault troops poised for an attack on the West. The 
Americans’ new estimate of the number of those troops, further¬ 
more, was also greatly exaggerated because it did not take into 
account the large-scale demobilization of Soviet forces after 1945. 

As U.S. intelligence’s primary source of information on the Soviet 
military during this pivotal period of the cold war, Gehlen’s organi¬ 
zation played an important role in the creation of the American 
evaluation—or rather misevaluation—of Soviet power in Europe 
that has not been adequately appreciated until recently. 

Important changes took place within the U.S. intelligence com¬ 
munity in the course of those years that reinforced the overall drift 
toward open hostilities with the USSR. Colonel John V. Grombach<^5 
of the Pentagon’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS), wKolrppears 
later in these pages, played a significant role in one such change:^ 

the TT S_ pnrgp__nf the foreign intelligence analysis .team s.Jit the./I 

I^jnlagenLa nd t he~Office~of Strate gic SeryTces (OSS) . T his se l f-im- A/ 
p osed p urge, which~ap pears tcTha ve been carried out primarily for 
political reasons, helped lay TKeT foundation for GehlenV growing 
influence within the^TLsT i ntelligehce community.' 

Grdmbach served duringThe war as chief of espionage for MIS, 
the War Department’s in-house secret information gathering 
group. His department maintained an int ense an d sometimes vi¬ 
cious ri valry with Americ a’s more glamo rous spy agency, - the' O SST 
The competitionrevolved~around funding, access to policymakers, 
manpower levels, control of agents, long-term strategy, and a myr¬ 
iad of other minor irritants. This contention grew so severe that 
each group accused the other—apparently with some justifica- 



The Eyes and Ears 57 


tion—of actually revealing its contract agents to the enemy. 8 When 
World War II drew to a close, the tug-of-war between the two 
agencies escalated sharply. The fight against the common enemy 
that had united them in an uncomfortable alliance was over. Both 
organizations saw their ^b udgets cut deepl y. Both believed—accu¬ 
rately, it turned out—that they were fightin g for t heir institutional 

li-ves^ ~ "-.... 

Grombach was not one to ignore a challenge. A beefy, barrel¬ 
chested man, he had once been an Olympic heavyweight boxer and 
an award-winning decathlon athlete. Victories—in professional life 
as well as in sport—had come easily to him in his early years. As he 
matured, however, Frenchy Grombach, as he was known to his 
friends, became “an opportunist of the first order,” according to his 
army intelligence file, “a man who lives on his contacts and one who 
woul d cut^ thejhroat of anyone standing in his way.” 9 ' 

One of GromibacK’s clear esTtargefs in this bureaucratic firefight 
was the OSS’s Research and Analysis (R&A) branch, which special¬ 
ized in making overall sense of the thousands of fragmentary re¬ 
ports on foreign activities that flooded into Washington each day. 
OSS R&A was skeptical of reports that the USSR was massing troops 
for a military attack on the West and was not afraid to say so inside 
the secret councils of government. R&A singled out Grombach’s 
espionage reports as unreliable and even as pro-Fascist. His reply 
to these accusations was a countercharge that the R&A branch had 
been infiltrated by Communists and that this accounted for both its 
low opinion of his efforts and its supposedly soft line on the USSR. 

Grombach turned a squad of his men loose in captured German 
espionage files in 1945 to search for evidence proving that R&A’s 
wartime reports were “soft on communism” as the result of pene¬ 
tration by Soviet agents. Not surprisingly, he found some evidence 
to support his suspicions. His investigation discovered that one mid¬ 
level R&A employee had probably joined the U.S. Communist 
party more than a decade previously and then had failed to admit 
it on his application for a government job. In a second case, he used 
uncorroborated reports from the state-controlled newspapers of 
Francisco Franco’s Spain to “prove” that State Department official 
Gustavo Duran was not only a Communist but supposedly a Russian 
spy as well. A handful of university professors who had been re¬ 
cruited to R&A during the war had connections with a wide variety 
of liberal or left-wing organizations, though not with the Commu¬ 
nist party itself. Finally, both Pentagon and OSS intelligence ana- 



58 BLOWBACK 


lysts had downplayed negative reports on the USSR during the 
war. The Germans’ revelations of the Soviet NKVD’s massacre of 
Polish officers in the Katyn Forest, for example, had been largely 
ignored in the interest of preserving Allied solidarity. 

Grombach argued, according to army intelligence records ob¬ 
tained through the Freedom of Information Act, that the minimiza¬ 
tion of Soviet war crimes by U.S. analysts was not simply a political 
decision but rather part of a Communist plot. The analysis groups 
at both the OSS and the Pentagon “seemed to have ‘liberal’ tenden¬ 
cies,” he asserted. They “consistently eliminated all anti-Commu- 
nist information” that his unit had developed. “Pro-Communist or 
pro-Marxist personnel and actions” had been permitted to prolifer¬ 
ate inside the U.S. intelligence analysis teams, he contended.* 10 

One Communist inside R&A was enough to prove his premise. 
Grombach lga-ked^t he resu lts of this search—code-named Project 
1641 inside the Pentagon—t o Republican mep aber^oLCpngress 
and the press in the midst of a serisiliveand^difficult showdown over 
budget appropriations for American intelligence agencies. Right- 
wing senators on Capitol Hill, armed with Grombach’s leaks, suc¬ 
ceeded in breaking the R&A branch into some seventeen subcom¬ 
mittees, virtually ensuring the demise of the OSS’s analytic group. 
The American capability to make sense of intelligence reports from 
Eastern Europe and the USSR, never strong in the first place, was 
deeply wounded. The R&A director, Colonel Alfred McCormack, 
who had also served with distinction during the war as director of 
U.S. military intelligence analysis in the War Department, soon 
resigned in disgust. 11 

As intelligence veteran and historian William Corson notes, both 
the acceptance of the theory of “ten-foot tall Russians” among U.S. 
intelligence specialists and th^J^egkuaings_of what was later called 
McCarthyism ma.yJxe dat^d frQm th^des^u^ion ojF^McCpxmack’s 
organization o^sk epfica ^experts on the USSR. The purge of the 
fif&A branch served as clear warning to analysts all over the govern¬ 
ment that hard-line hostility toward the USSR was necessary for 

*Some measure of Grombach’s personal approach to the question of Soviet capabilities 
may be gleaned from his later published writings. In 1980 Grombach cited wartime Abwehr 
records as proof that “the Panama Canal giveaway ... is the direct result of its definite 
selection by the USSR and Stalin as the first priority domino along with Cuba in the Commu¬ 
nist play for world domination as far back as .. . 1942.” Soviet efforts throughout the decades 
leading up to this supposed Russian victory were said to have been helped along by “criminal 
subversion [and] naive stupidity ... in Washington,” Grombach continued, including squads 
of Communist agents inside the State Department, CIA, and the Pentagon intelligence staffs. 



The Eyes and Ears 59 


professional survival during the Tru man administration. 12 Colonel 
McCormack’s downfall, moreover,"~became~an~dppoftunity for 
Reinhard Gehlen to expand his influence, which was more in tune 
with the precepts of U.S. intelligence agencies in the new adminis¬ 
tration. 

The radical shift in U.S. and Soviet attitudes toward each other 
during this period was a product of a very complex, politicized 
process, of course, one that has been the subject of considerable 
debate ever since. To put it briefly, the U.S. government desired to 
stabilize events in Western Europe^nd ^mand~Amencan politic al 
and economic interests in Eastern Europe. This aimTKowever, ran 
headion^TnTrSta4m 2 s'i'nIention to draw new Soviet borders at the 
outer edges of the czars’ old empire and to solidify the USSR’s 
control over the same Eastern European countries that the Unite d 
Spates viewed as allies and po tenti al trading partners. This collision 
was^ggraWtedTyTmulfipIicity ofidebloglcal and cultural factors, 
not the least of which was the sometimes violent disputes between 
Com munist party activists and Catholic church official s! 

American officials made their own decisions concerning how to 
cope with the cold war, and it is evident that many factors in both 
domestic and international politics played a part in those decisions. 
Within that framework, however, it is enlightening to draw new 
attention to the influence of the covert operations and espionage 
agencies of both East and West, which played a powerful but 
largely overlooked role in the evolution of these tangled conflicts. 
Underco ver organizations considered themselves the frontline ar- 
mies"oFthe cold war, and in sev eral cases discussed in this book they 
ap pear to have been thefproxirnate eause of dangerous i nciden ts in 
East-West relations. The same clandestine-^genciesThat had an 
evident interest irfthis clash were frequently the primary or even 
the sole source of information used by senior policymakers in evalu¬ 
ating the intentions of foreign governments. This privileged access 
of covert organizations to senior officials is, after all, the reason for 
having a central intelligence agency in the first place. 

Gehlen’s perspectives on the cold war are of interest because of 
his relatively influential role in defining U.S. policymakers’ under¬ 
standing of the capabilities and intentions of the Red Army. 
“Gehlen’s approach, particularly during those [early cold war] 
years, took as its premise, first, that Moscow intended to control 
and/or disrupt all of Europe in the relatively near term, through 
military force if need be,” says a retired Office of National Estimates 



60 BLOWBACK 


(ONE) staff member, “and, second, that every Communist in 
Europe was working in concert on that plan. He provided us with 
very detailed information along these lines for many years, and we 
made use of it in numerous ways. There is some truth to the theory. 
In the final analysis, however,” he concludes, “he was mistaken.” 13 

U.S. officials became convinced, writes Professor John Lukacs in 
foreign Affairs , that “communism was a fanatical ideology and 
that, contrary to the wartime illusions about [Stalin’s] nature, Stalin 
was wholly dedicated to it. But this seemingly logical, and seem¬ 
ingly belated, realization was not accurate. It concentrated on ide¬ 
ology, not geography. What mattered to Stalin was the latter, not 
the former. . . . There was no communist regime (with the minor 
and idiosyncratic exception of Albania) beyond the occupation 
sphere of the Soviet armies; and there would be none, either.” 
However brutal Stalin may have been in the areas under his con¬ 
trol, Lukacs concludes, he had no intention of invading Western 
Europe, and he even gave short shrift to the then powerful French 
and Italian Communist parties in the West. 

By late 1947, however, Gehlen had become “an alarm signal” (as 
Hohne of Der Spiegel puts it) in a series of secret conferences with 
General Lucius Clay, then the U.S. commander in Germany. He 
reported to Clay that there were no fewer than 175 Red Army 
divisions in Eastern Europe, that most of them were combat-ready, 
and that quiet changes already under way in Soviet billeting and 
leave policies for these troops suggested a major mobilization could 
be in the wind. The Soviets’ behavior should be interpreted as a 
prelude to military aggression, he argued. 14 

Then, in February 1948, two important events took place. The 
coalition government that had governed Czechoslovakia since the 
end of the war collapsed, in part because the United States declined 
fully to support Czech President Edvard Benes (a Social Democrat) 
on the ground that he was insufficiently anti-Communist. The 
Czech Communist party took power with Red Army backing, thus 
strongly reinforcing Western apprehensions about the possibility of 
an eventual Soviet military attack on Western Europe. Within days 
of the Czech events, the U.S. Army general staff chief of intelli¬ 
gence, General Stephen J. Chamberlin (who had earlier been in¬ 
strumental in the scientists’ affair) met with General Clay in Ger¬ 
many. In these encounters Chamberlin stressed “the fact that 
major military appropriations bills were pending before congressio¬ 
nal committees,” as Jean Edward Smith, the editor of Clay’s papers, 



The Eyes and Ears 61 

has noted, “and the need to galvanize American public opinio n Jo 
supp or t increaseaHeiense expenditures.” The public in the United 
States was unwilling to financeTFTe military adequately, Chamber¬ 
lin argued, unless it was thoroughly alarmed about an actual mili¬ 
tary attack from the USSR. 15 

Acting in response to Chamberlin’s requests, Clay issued sharply 
worded telegrams that strongly implied a full-scale Soviet military 
offensive against Western Europe was brewing. “For many months, 
based on logical analysis, I have felt and held that war [with the 
Soviets] was unlikely for at least ten years,” Clay cabled to Washing¬ 
ton on March 5,1948. “Within the last few weeks, [however,] I have 
felt a subtle change in the Soviet attitude . . . which now gives me 
a feeling that it may come with dramatic suddenness. . . .” 16 

Gehlen’s studies of the Red Army provided the intelligence un¬ 
derpinning for Clay’s comments, according to the Office of National 
Estimates (ONE) source; they were the “facts” that supported his 
argument. Clay’s officially top secret telegram was quickly leaked, 
to the U.S. press ancTwasw hjpped up bv'th'e media into a full-blown _ 
war~~sca rejhat is gen erally recognized today"as o n e'oFthe most 
im portant watersheds of t hecoEfwar. Policymakers in Washington 
accepted the contention that 175 fully armed Red Army divisions 
stood poised in the Soviet-occupied zone, waiting restlessly to at¬ 
tack. Gehlen’s central contention that the USSR had not substan¬ 
tially demobilized its troops since the war, while the United States 
had, was accepted without question at the time and widely re¬ 
garded as proof of an aggressive Soviet intent toward Western 
Europe. 

Equally revealing, the same troops that the 1946 U.S. Army anal¬ 
ysis had described as being tied down with “immediate occupation 
and security requirements” were now described in Gehlen’s esti¬ 
mates (and later in the intelligence summaries of the Pentagon as 
well) as “a highly mobile and armored spearhead for an offensive 
in Western Europe,” according to a crucial Joint Chiefs of Staff war 
plans summary. The U.S. Army’s earlier acknowledgm ent of th e 
tra nspo rt and logistic problems faced by the Red_ Army(d jsappearecT] 
from theTab~ sefc"ferappraisals^prSoviet'~capabjlities. Instead, the 
Russians were said now to he able to launch large-scale offensives 
in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East all at the same time.* 17 

*The U.S. war contingency plans of 1949 are a vivid illustration of the degree of self- 
deception that had taken hold among U.S. intelligence analysts at the time, in part as a result 
of the efforts of the Gehlen Organization. According to a top secret estimate declassified as 



62 ' BLOWBACK 


“Russia, at this stage, is the world’s No. 1 military power,” head¬ 
lined U. S. New s ir Wor ld Report in a feature story on the new 
crisis'^Russia’s "armies"ancTlffTTorces are in a position to pour 
across Europe and into Asia almost at will.” The United States had 
fewer than a score of divisions to stand guard against this 
horde and seemed to be losing troops every day because of budget 
cutbacks and a widespread desir e at home to jetur n tofnoTma lity^ 
’The Truman admimstraUdrfs response to tHis^ilemmaseemed 
f obvious: Stop the cuts in the military budget, accelerate construc¬ 
tion of the atomic weapons that appeared to offer more bang for the 
buck than conventional forces, and dump millions of dollars into a 
variety of covert operations and intelligence programs, including 


f a result of a Freedom of Information Act action by the author, U.S. military planning was 
I based on the following “conclusions as to the strategic intentions of the Soviet Union in the 
( event of war in 1949.” It is worth noting that these same “conclusions” were also used to 
[ justify Defense Department budget requests. 

The following would be undertaken [by the USSR] simultaneously, according to the 
intelligence estimate: 

(1) A campaign against Western Europe (including Italy and Sicily, but not the Iberian 
Peninsula initially) to gain the Atlantic seaboard in the shortest possible time and to control 
the Central Mediterranean; 

(2) An aerial bombardment against the British Isles; 

(3) A campaign to seize control of the Middle East, including Greece and Turkey, and 
the Suez Canal area; 

(4) A campaign against China, and South Korea, and air and sea operations against Japan 
and the United States bases in Alaska and the Pacific, insofar as the Soviet Union can 
support such operations without prejudice to those in other areas; 

(5) Small scale one-way air attacks against the United States and Canada, and possibly 
small scale two-way air attacks against the Puget Sound area; 

i (6) A sea and air offensive against Anglo-American sea communications; 

f y* (7) Subversive activities and sabotage against Anglo-American interests in all parts of the 
j world; 

(8) A campaign against Scandinavia and air attacks on Pakistan may also be undertaken 
concurrently with the foregoing, or as necessary; 

(9) On successful conclusion of the campaign in Western Europe (and possible Scan¬ 
dinavia) a full-scale air and sea offensive would be directed against the British Isles; 

(10) The Soviet Union will have sufficient armed forces to undertake campaigns simul¬ 
taneously in the theaters indicated and still have sufficient armed forces to form an ade¬ 
quate reserve. 

The strategic estimate went on to report that the Soviet capabilities in 1956-57 were 
projected to be the same as those in 1949, with the exception that “South Korea and a large 
portion of China will have been absorbed into the Soviet orbit.” 

The British chiefs of staff also approved this estimate for their own military and intelligence 
planning, apparently at U.S. insistence. In an official communication with the U.S. Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, the British commented that the American estimate of Soviet capabilities “is 
probably an overestimate, [but] little purpose would be served in re-examining [it].” 


The Eyes and Ears 63 


II the newly born CIA and its chief client, the Gehlen Organization. 

It is clear in hindsight, however, that the estimates of Soviet 
military power that Gehlen provided to the Americans were simply 
wrong and grossly overstated both the Soviets’ ability and their 
desire to fight. While it “is still commonly believed that the Soviet 
Union did not demobilize its ground forces at the end of World War 
II,” writes Matthew Evangelista in the MIT journal I nternationa l 
Security, “ ft] his is not the case.... [Thej overall manpower strength 
of the Soviet armed forces was considerably exaggerated in the 
West during the early postwar years.” 18 Even PaulJ Mitze, whose 
hawkish credentials are well established, suggested recently that 
only about one-third of the Soviet divisions in Europe at the time 
were actually full strength. About one-third more were partial- 
strength forces, Nitze continued, and fully one-third were cadre— 
that is, paper—forces. 19 

Ironically, it is clear that t he Sov iets’ own extreme secr ecy played, 
an imp ortant part in reinforcing Geh len’s status withuTAmencajs 
^ro wingnatio na Lsecurityfcomplexj Un the decade following the war 
many of the types of satellite surveillance photos and radio inter¬ 
ception now used for keeping track of, say, Soviet bomber produc¬ 
tion or troop movements did not exist. Instead, the collection of that 
type of information was done in large part from the human sources 
in which Gehlen then specialized, like refugees, defectors, and 
spies. 

Stalin’s police agencies worked overtime to undermine every 
independent U.S. avenue to confirm (or disprove) the information 
that Gehlen’s emigre agents were bringing in. While this was ap¬ 
parently viewed in the USSR as a wise security policy, its actual 
results were clearly negative from the point of view of long-term 
Soviet—or, for that matter, American—interests. Instead of slowing 
U.S. arms expansion, which is presumably a goal of Soviet security 
policy, it had exactly the opposite effect. Faced with the unknown, 
American military planners assumed the worst. The vacuum of 
information on Soviet military affairs that was ruthlessly enforced 
by the Kremlin ended up providing the environment in which 
America’s own paranoia festered. 

The dynamics of the process by which intelligence estimates are 
created also tended to lend credence to Gehlen’s alarming assump¬ 
tions about Soviet capabilities. “You’ll never get court-martialed for 
saying [the Soviets] do have a new weapon and it turns out that they 






64 BLOWBACK 


don’t,” Marchetti says. “But you’ll lose your ass if you say that they 
don’t have it and it turns out that they do.”* 20 

Gehlen’s role in the 1948 crisis was one of the first—and still one 
of the most important—examples of blowback created by the Nazi 
utilization programs. His seemingly authoritative intelligence re¬ 
ports played a very real role in shaping U.S. perceptions of the 
USSR during this pivotal period. Furthermore, the reports became 
an important ingredient in the domestic American debate over 
military budgets and defense policy. 

In those events, General Chamberlin of army intelligence solic¬ 
ited General Clay’s telegram because he knew that once leaked, it 
would be a potent weapon in budget battles on Capitol Hill. The 
idea succeeded almost too well. The arrival of Clay’s warning on the 
heels of the collapse of the government in Czechoslovakia and 
related crises came perilously close to triggering a war itself. 

Had Gehlen’s role been limited to the preparation of top secret 
studies for the use of America’s own most expert intelligence ana¬ 
lysts, it is unlikely that his project would have done much harm 
during the postwar period, and it might actually have done some 
good. But that is not how intelligence agencies actually work. In 
reality, conte nding factions in_the government leak their versions 

*Gehlen also played a role in the creation of the famous missile gap of the 1950s. “Gehlen 
provided us [the CIA] with specific reports on the Soviet ICBM program,” Victor Marchetti 
says. “He said, ‘We have two reliable reports confirming this,’ and they [the Soviets] have 
just installed three missiles at that site,’ et cetera, claiming that he had contacts among the 
German scientists captured by the Russians at the end of the war.” The intelligence reports 
were transmitted to the Pentagon through interagency channels, and word about the alarm¬ 
ing new development eventually leaked from there into the press. 

Walter Dornberger added fuel to this fire in 1955 by publishing alarming speculations that 
the Soviets might attack from the sea, using shorter-range missiles deployed in floating 
canisters off the coast of the United States. He was deeply involved in the United States’ own 
ICBM program at this point, and his opinions were given considerable weight in public 
discussions. 

The CIA soon dispatched some of the first of the revolutionary new U-2 surveillance planes 
on secret missions inside Soviet airspace to gather more data. “We figured that if the Soviets 
had ICBMs before the U.S., that could be damn serious,” Marchetti continues. “We also 
figured if they had them, they’d have to move them by railroad, particularly to Siberia, where 
they would be most useful against the United States. So we sent out Frank Powers and the 
U-2s and they plotted the whole [Soviet] rail network. U-2s scoured the Trans-Siberian 
Railroad, every railroad spur, and every missile R and D station. And nothing was found that 
remotely resembled the implementation of an ICBM [capability] at that time. ... It was all 

kylL” '- 

By that time, however, the missile gap story had already taken on the status of a fact, one 
which appeared to be backed up by authoritative leaks from the Pentagon. The issue subse¬ 
quently played a major role in debates over t he def ense budgetand in several election 
campaign s— ^ 



The Eyes and Ears 65 


of events to f avored jnembers^oiLCo ngress or reporters and from 
tfiTerntcTthe' public at large. “ Secret reports ” revealed in thufway^ 
especially thoseTEaXTriglRen or titillate us—take on a mystique of 
accuracy that i s unde served . These “secrets” become'pntenTsynv 
bols that rally constituencies whose concern is not with the accu¬ 
racy of a given bit of intelligence but rather with the us e to which 
the leak can be p ut in the domestic political arena . As time goes on, 
a self-reinforcing process sets in, each new leak lending credibility 
to the next, which in turn “confirms” those stories that have already 
been revealed. 

“The agency [CIA] loved Gehlen because he fed us what we 
wanted to hear,” Marchetti concludes. “We used his stuff con¬ 
stantly, and we fed it to everybody else: the Pentagon; the White 
House; the newspapers. They loved it, too. But it was hyped up 
Russian boogeyman junk, and it did a lot of damage to this coun¬ 
try.” 21 



CHAPTER SIX 


CROWCASS 


Regardless of the high-level intrigues involving scientists and the 
Gehlen Organization, the United States Army was often an exem¬ 
plary institution when it came to pursuit and prosecution of Nazi 
war criminals. Army investigators captured more suspects, con¬ 
ducted more interrogations, secured more evidence, and con¬ 
tributed to the prosecution of more war criminals than any other 
institution in the world, with the possible exception of the NKVD, 
the Soviet secret police. And unlike the NKVD, the U.S. Army 
made much of the war crimes data it had gathered available to the 
entire world. Repositories of evidence and investigative files origi¬ 
nally created or financed in large part by the U.S. Army, such as the 
Berlin Document Center and the records of the international team 
of prosecutors at Nuremberg, have provided the foundation for 
thousands of war crimes prosecutions by more than a dozen coun¬ 
tries. 

It is ironic, then, that the same institution was knowingly respon¬ 
sible for the escape of a substantial number of Nazis, including 
Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyons,” and, in fact, organized entire 
paramilitary brigades made up of Nazi collaborators. But the pur¬ 
suit of fugitive Nazis and facilitating their escape were not really 
two separate phenomena. These two apparently opposite policies 
were actually connected and are found interlocked at the heart of 
many army intelligence operations in Europe following the war. 


66 



CROWCASS 67 


Army projects such as CROWCASS—the central registry for trac¬ 
ing war crimes suspects—and the big U.S. interrogation center at 
Camp King were officially used to hunt Nazi fugitives. At the same 
time, however, they were secretly employing and protecting some 
of the very men whose names were on their wanted lists. 

During these first years after the war one of the most important 
interfaces between the army and fugitive Nazis—and a good exam¬ 
ple of how they gradually became connected—was the Central 
Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects, known as CROW¬ 
CASS. CROWCASS cross-referenced the names of fugitive war 
crimes suspects, on the one hand, with the rosters of the more than 
8 million people being held in POW and DP camps at the war’s end. 
Although it was in operation for only three years, the CROWCASS 
system proved to be a singularly effective tool for locating tens of 
thousands of suspects, sgveral tho usand of whom were eventually 
tried for war crimes by national authorities in Europe or at the 
tribunals at Nuremberg. It was the CROWCASS registry, for exam¬ 
ple, that helped locate men who had committed atrocities at Bu- 
chenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau, a number of whom were 
subsequently found guilty and executed. 

The CROWCASS operation began in May 1945, following a call 
by General Dwight Eisenhower, then supreme Allied commander 
in Europe, for international cooperation in hunting and prosecut¬ 
ing war criminals. By the time it suspe nded operation s i n 1948, 
CROWCASS had processed 85,0<5(X wanted reports, transmitted 
130,000 detention reports to investigative teams from a dozen 
countries, and published a total of 40 book-length registries of per¬ 
sons being sought for crimes against humanity—probably the most 
extensive data base on such suspects ever created. 1 

But the CROWCASS system, like many intelligence projects, had 
a dual personality. The same cross-checking capabilities that per¬ 
mitted the location of thousands of fugitive Nazis also created a pool 
from which the names of thousands of “suspects” who might be 
useful for police or intelligence work could be drawn. The opera¬ 
tions chief of CROWCASS, Leon G. Turrou, coordinated that task. 

"furrou had served in the czarist army during the First World 
War but Had foundhis way to theTJmted States and begun a modest 
living as a translator for the anti-Communist “White” Russian 
emigre newspaper Slovo after the Bolshevik Revolution. During 
the X920s hc join ed the F BL specializing in countersubversion 
investigations in New York City’s large Eastern European immi- 





68 BLOWBACK 


grant community. By all accounts Turrou did well at his job, and by 
1938 he had gained fame by breaking up a large spy ring run by 
undercover German Abwehr (military intelligence) agents based in 
New York. 

Turrou joined the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division 
(CID)—the investigative arm of the military police—in 1942. There 
he caught the eye of GeneniljLiseiihQwe^V^ 

\yalter Bedd JLSrriith, and was appointed chief investigator and 
assistant director of, first, the CID’s North African division and, by 
1945, of the CID’s combined European and African theater opera¬ 
tions. Smith personally selected Turrou to head operations for 
CROWCASS in early 1945. 2 

“Under Turrou, CROWCASS ... operated on two distinct levels,” 
writes intelligence veteran and historian William Corson: “[first], to 
catalog war crimes and the locations of war criminals; and [se¬ 
condly] to recruit former Nazis to serve as U.S. intelligence agents 
and sources.” Turrou became the contact man inside CROWCASS 
for American intelligence agencies that wished to frustrate unau> 
thorized attempts to jbca te N azis who had gone to work for the 
West. Concealment of a recruited agent was generally achieved by 
simple deletion of the suspect’s name from the list of those in U.S. 
custody, thus ensuring that the new employee would be officially 
considered missing. Vienna OSS chief Charles Thayer acknowl¬ 
edges that he did just that for German political warfare expert Hans 
Heinrich Herwarth in 1945. And Reinhard Gehlen himself chuck¬ 
led over the irony that he was still officially a “fugitive” as late as 
1949 owing to the fact that notice of his surrender had been inten¬ 
tionally deleted from POW lists with Turrou’s assistance. As will be 
seen, CROWCASS intelligence “assets”—meaning agents or sym¬ 
pathizers who could be tapped for clandestine missions—eventu¬ 
ally became an important element in many U.S. intelligence opera¬ 
tions in Europe during the late 1940s. 3 

In the first months after Germany’s surrender the relationship 
between army counterintelligence agents in Europe and their tar¬ 
gets had been clear enough. U.S. investigators hunted down fugi¬ 
tive Nazis in order to penetrate and destroy any underground Fas¬ 
cist movements that had survived the collapse of the Hitler 
government. The army took the threat of such movements quite 
seriously. Germany had, after all, risen from the ashes of World War 



CROWCASS 69 


I and evaded the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty through u seP' 
of a variety of underground organizations, and Hitler and his top ^ 
^lieutenants had repeatedly pledged that they would do it again if •' 
\Germany fell to the Allies. Detection of underground Nazi groups, & 
therefore, became a high-priority task. 

l Most of these investigations were conducted by the Army Coun- ^ 
terintelligence Corps. This agency worked closely with CROW¬ 
CASS and served as a political police, in effect, in the U.S.-occupied t 
zone of Germany during the first few years after the war. 

CIC investigations into underground Nazi activity became some 
of the first Nazi recruitment operations. This paradox is similar in 
many respects to the situation often faced in more conventional 
police work; destruction of a ring of criminals sometimes requires 
enlistment of one of them as an informer against the others. This 
enrollment of criminals, which is the daily bread of most civilian 
detectives and district attorneys, is typically carried out through 
harsh threats of punishment, followed by soothing offers of protec¬ 
tion if a suspect cooperates. The object, at least ideally, is to bring 
an entire group of suspects to justice, even if that entails special 
leniency for a few of them. Not surprisingly, U.S. investigators fre¬ 
quently cut deals with some Nazis in order to land more important 
fugitives. 

As the cold war congealed, however, the targets of the investiga¬ 
tions shifted from underground Nazis to underground Communists 
and to persons viewed as sympathetic to the USSR. Many CIC 
investigators filed away their dossiers on war crimes suspects or let 
such cases slip to the bottom of the list of high-priority projects that 
never seemed to get any shorter. On an administrative level, the 
leadership and drive needed to trace and prosecute war crimes 
suspects were eroded. 

Meanwhile, the CIC’s networks of recruited informants and con¬ 
tract agents consisting of former Nazis and so-called minor war 
criminals largely remained in place. In several documented cases 
the CIC undertook efforts to enlist the help of the Nazis’ own 
experts like Gestapo veteran Klaus Barbie in tracking down Com- 
munist Jn trigu eT " —-— - 

But it is at that point that the similarity between conventional 
police work and the security efforts of the CIC ended. No longer 
were the CIC’s Nazis used primarily to trace war criminals, nor 
were those informers enjoying CIC protection forced to pay some 


70 BLOWBACK 


sort of penalty for their role in war crimes and crimes against 
humanity. As the cold war beca me an in stitution, t he Na zis were 
si mply turned l oose. —- —- 

The great majority of early (i.e., 1944 to 1947) recruitment and 
protection of Nazis by the U.S. government was the product of what 
many people would term “police informer” types of relationships. 
Gene Bramel, a young CIC agent who worked with SS man Klaus 
Barbie after the war, summarizes the CIC’s point of view neatly: 
“They say, ‘[W]hy did you use Nazis?’ That is a stupid question. It 
would have been impossible for us to operate in southern Germany 
without using Nazis. We were Americans. I spoke pretty good Ger¬ 
man, but by the time I got through ordering dinner they would 
have suspected I was American. And who knew Germany better 
than anyone else? Who were the most organized? Who were the 
most anti-Communist? Former Nazis. Not to use them would mean 
complete emasculation. And we us ed them, the British used them, 
t he French used them, and tl reTfussi ans used -them.” 4 

“You deal all the cards and^laymem as they come,” reflects 
Herb Brucher, a former special agent with the 970th CIC detach¬ 
ment, which handled thousands of former Nazis as informers and 
contract agents between 1945 and 1949. “We dealt with Commu¬ 
nists; we dealt with Nazis. ... I never held that against the guy— 
though if you had something you could hold over a guy’s head, then 
you could use that like a form of blackmail to get information.” 
Brucher, like most CIC veterans, has few regrets about his work, 
which included efforts to locate German scientists for transfer to 


U.S. laboratories as well as a major campaign utilizing ex-Nazis to 
penetrate the German Communist party. Use of ex-SS men in such 
circumstances “never bothered me at all,” he comments. “I guess 
it was all that training, but I personally took to it like a duck to 

water.” 5 


It is clear that a Catch-22, rather than some vast conspiracy, is 
what accounts for the army’s policy toward most Nazi fugitives, at 
least in the early years. Protecting war crimes suspects from arrest 
was, of course, banned; one important function of the CIC was, 
after all, the pursuit and arrest of underground Nazis. There was 
one hitch, however. A few selected Nazis could be protected or 
even paid off if doing so led to the arrest of more important fugi¬ 
tives. 

At the same time the main type of payment available for the 
Nazis the 970th had recruited was “an allowance of soap, razors, 



CROWCASS 71 


chewing gum, and a little tobacco,” as Brucher puts it, “and who 
the hell wants to work for that?” Many American agents turned to 
trading these items on the black market to obtain German currency 
for paying their informers. But when that failed to yield enough 
money, the Americans offered their wards the only thing the CIC 
had that was cheap and plentiful: protection. The more protection 
the American agents offered, the bigger the network of subagents 
they could run. The bigger the net, the more information that came 
in. And the more information that came in, the more successful the 
American agent was considered. No matter if the information the 
Nazis were providing was little more than clippings from Czech or 
Polish newspapers; there was no way to check it anyway, at least not 
at first. What mattered was volume, and protection equaled vol¬ 
ume. 6 

The dusty, sprawling U.S. interrogation center at Camp King, 
near Oberusel, was apparently the most active recruiting center for 
ex-Nazis interested in throwing in their lot with the Americans. 
Commanded by Colonel William R. Philp and later by Colonel Roy 
M. Thoroughman, Camp King was a striking example of the blur¬ 
ring of the lines between the hunter and the prey. 

Camp King had been the Luftwaffe’s primary interrogation cen¬ 
ter for captured American and British fliers during the war, and it 
was there that the Germans developed highly effective interroga¬ 
tion techniques utilizing the latest breakthroughs in human psy¬ 
chology. Contrary to the stereotyped Nazi use of rubber hoses, the 
Luftwaffe’s approach combined meticulous cross-referencing of 
every known fact about any given Allied air force unit, on the one 
hand, with subtle attempts to gain the respect of their prisoners, on 
the other. The results had been spectacular: Virtually every Allied 
airman let slip some fragment of information that, when combined 
with what the Germans already knew, proved to be of intelligence 
value. “Poker-faced Scharfif,” by all accounts the best German inter¬ 
rogator, testified later that “all but about 20 out of more than 500 
I interviewed did talk, and told me exactly the things I was trying 
to find out.”* 7 

In mid-1945 the United States seized the Luftwaffe center and 

*The brutality of nazism was masked at the interrogation center but was present nonethe¬ 
less. One wartime escape ended in the roundup and summary execution of some fifty Allied 
prisoners of war, mainly British. Consistently uncooperative or escape-prone prisoners were 
sent to their deaths in concentration camps. 



72 BLOWBACK 


transformed it into a holding tank for a number of the highest- 
ranking Nazis in captivity, including General Gehlen, Hermann 
Goering, Albert Speer, and Julius Streicher, as well as military lead¬ 
ers such as Field Marshal Albert Kesselring; Hitler’s successor, 
Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz; and scores of others. Some trusted 
Luftwaffe interrogators who had once translated English into Ger¬ 
man for the Nazis were even put back to work translating German 
into English for the Allies. 

Camp King, however, was not simply a high-level POW camp. Its 
unique mission was, as an internal history of the camp puts it, to 
“utilize the knowledge and abilities of the former German intelli¬ 
gence personnel to collect information of interest to the United 
States.” About 200 SS, SD, and Abwehr men were assigned to write 
“histories” of their wartime experiences. Some of these studies 
concerned Nazi command structures and were subsequently used 
in connection with postwar trials. But the majority of the studies, 
even in 1945, were designed to produce information about the 
USSR, not Nazi Germany, and the authors of such studies were in 
many cases quietly let out of prison and placed on U.S. or British 
intelligence payrolls. 

The activities at Camp King, although approved by the army’s 
chief 5'fTrite 11 igence in Europe, General Sibert, often ran^directly 
counter to the publicly announced p olic y of the U nited S_tates,_ 
Once, for example, the American zone provost marshal rejected a 
proposal from Colonel Philp that a systematic screening and inter¬ 
rogation of German POWs released from Russian custody be under¬ 
taken to gather intelligence on potential military targets in the 
Soviet-occupied zone. The provost marshal objected to the fact that 
Abwehr and SS officers were to be employed as interrogators and 
analysts in the effort. (Philp’s proposal, in fact, had originated with 
Reinhard Gehlen, who had, as noted earlier, begun his secret spy 
organization under Philp’s patronage at Camp King.) Despite the 
prohibition, Colonel Philp remained convinced that unless this in¬ 
formation was collected at the time the POWs returned to Ger¬ 
many it would be lost forever. Philp, therefore, secretly obtained 
permission from General Sibert and proceeded. “Screening teams 
were established within the German refugee processing camps at 
Hersfeld, Hof, Ulm and Giessen,” according to the unpublished 
history of Camp King. 8 “Approximately 300,000 POWs were 
screened and carded. In many cases, exploitation [i.e., use as an 



CROWCASS 73 


informer or contract agent] was made at the processing camps.” 

This two-tier American policy in Germany occurred again and 
again throughout the cold war and was not so different, in fact, from 
the practice of the French, British, and Soviet governments. It 
combined a public condemnation and pursuit o f fugitive Nazi 
criminals, onThe one hand, with secr et prot ection and utili zation 
of some of the same men, on the other. Leaks were everywhere, 
however, and such protection did not remain truly secret for long. 
As the contradictory two-tier system gradually matured during the 
late 1940s, it became routine for U.S. intelligence agencies to defy 
the announced policies of the American government concerning 
Nazi fugitives. Public leaders in Germany (including newspaper 
reporters, for example, as well as political officials) tacitly cooper¬ 
ated with the intelligence agencies. “Well-informed people knew 
that this had to be done,” says a former State Department political 
affairs officer who prefers anonymity, “and it was better to avoid 
any fuss.” 

By the end of 1947 the U.S. Army had begun at least a half dozen 
large-scale programs designed to tap the talents of SS and German 
military intelligence veterans. Operation Pajamas, for example, or¬ 
ganized “exploitation of German personnel used in forecasting 
European political trends.” Birchwood did the same with “eco¬ 
nomic experts,” in this context clearly suggesting men who had 
worked for the SS and for Goering. Project Dwindle collected Nazi 
cryptographic experts and equipment. Apple Pie, a joint U.S.-Brit¬ 
ish operation, recruited “certain key personnel of [SS] RSHA Amt 
VI” who were expert in Soviet industrial and economic matters, 
according to the U.S. orders that established the code word designa¬ 
tors for the program. Project Panhandle undertook “operational 
exploitation”—in other words, recruitment for pay—“of German 
ex-Military Intelligence personnel for collecting military intelli¬ 
gence on the USSR and its satellites.” Project Credulity traced 
German scientists wanted for the JIOA Paperclip project. These 
efforts, though highly secret from the general public, were never¬ 
theless approved and managed through regular intelligence chan¬ 
nels. They received conventional code names and were financed in 
the normal army intelligence budget. 9 These were not a conspiracy 
within the intelligence community to defy the rest of the govern¬ 
ment; thes e expl oitation programs were the official, though secret, 
U.S. policy. ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~~ 



74 BLOWBACK 


* * * 

Virtually all U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the pursuit of war crimi¬ 
nals had collapsed by mid-1946, with the important exception of 
the International Tribunal at Nuremberg. It is possible to debate 
endlessly over who exactly was to blame for the deterioration of the 
earlier efforts to bring Nazi criminals to justice. The competition 
over scientists and industrial laboratories was clearly a factor. So 
was the larger and more fundamental struggle over spheres of 
influence in France, Central Europe, and the Middle East. Any way 
one looks at it, however, it is clear that the failure of East and West 
to work together to prosecute war crimes suspects provided tickets 
to freedom, in effect, for thousands of the men and women who 
were responsible for the Holocaust and other outrages. 

Belligerent confrontations began between East and West over 
just what did, and did not, constitute prosecutable war crimes as 
early as the summer of 1945. This conflict was particularly sharp in 
the cases of prominent members of Catholic political parties from 
Eastern Europe. The bO^iOt'STirguO'dniat many of These qonserva- 
tive Christian Democra tic po li tician s had carried their countries 
i nto an open alliance w i th the Nazis , that theyThen Had served as 
responsible officials in Axis regimes and had helped establish or 
administer laws for registration of Jews, creation of concentration 
camps, and the rest. Therefore, the Soviet reasoning went, these 
officials had contributed to the persecution of innocent people—or 
were at least suspects—and should be delivered to postwar Eastern 
European governments for trial. 

Many American and other Western officials, on the other hand, 
preferred to concentrate on the role that the same religious parties 
had played on the eve of Germany's defeat, when much of the 
Christian Democratic establishment in Eastern Europe had turned 
against the Nazis. Although the United States had formally agreed 
as early as 1943 to turn over war criminals to the country where 
they had committed crimes, by 1945 U.S. policymakers were view¬ 
ing anti-Communist Catholic leaders as an essential part of postwar 
coalition governments in Eastern Europe. The United States inter¬ 
preted many Soviet war crimes accusations as basically political 
charges tailored to undermine Western influence in the region. 

The question of how to handle suspected war criminals was fur¬ 
ther complicated by serious East-West disputes over repatriation of 
refugees. At least 8 million displaced people from Eastern Europe 



CROWCASS 75 


were living in hovels in occupied Germany and Austria in 1945. 
The United States, Britain, and the USSR had agreed at the Yalta 
Conference that these people were to be returned to their various 
homelands, where it was hoped they would be reintegrated into 
postwar society. Contrary to the lurid accounts that appeared in the 
West during the cold war, the overwhelming majority of these 
refugees voluntarily returned to their countries of origin without 
incident. 

But the fact remained that between 1 and 2 million of the re¬ 
fugees did not wish to go back. Many of those who refused to return 
viewed themselves as heroes, of a sort, who had rebelled against 
Stalin even though that had entailed working with the Nazis. The 
Soviets, however, regarded most of the remaining refugees as peo¬ 
ple who had committed serious acts of treason, and Stalin insisted 
that they be returned. This harsh judgment was not entirely with¬ 
out justification, because a substantial number of the emigres were, 
in fact, the former soldiers, SS volunteers, or quisling officials of the 
Nazis. “Treason” to the Soviets, however, also included acts such as 
public criticism of the Communist party, which was hardly consid¬ 
ered a crime in the West. 

The American and British authorities cooperated in the repatria¬ 
tion programs for a time, but with increasing reluctance. The pros¬ 
pect of driving an innocent person into Stalin’s USSR against his or 
her will was distasteful to most Westerners, for obvious reasons. The 
majority of the remaining displaced persons appeared to be politi¬ 
cal or economic emigres, by Western standards, not war criminals. 

Western reluctance to turn over refugees—and criminal sus¬ 
pects—to the Soviets was reinforced as word trickled back from the 
East concerning the fates of some of those who had been delivered 
during the first months after the war. Trials of suspect quislings and 
native-born SS men in the East were generally a mere formality in 
those days and often dispensed with altogether. Thousands of sum¬ 
mary executions were carried out in the USSR, Poland, and other 


areas under Red Army control. Modern hi storians in Yu goslavia 


concede that “tens of thousands” of Nazi co llaborators were T killed^ 
bfteh~witEoutTnaI, m that smafficountr y^ilone during 1 945. 10 
rhilhmirof'men'andwomenTr om throughout Eastern Europe were 


deported to forced labor camps deep inside the USSR, many never/ 
to return. A^^a 

Soviet suspicions that the West was intentionally harboring per- 
sons they considered traitors and war criminals expanded side by 


76 BLOWBACK 


side with the West’s growing reluctance to repatriate refugees. The 
already tense relations between the superpowers further deteri¬ 
orated. The USSR refused to participate in the CROWCASS iden¬ 
tification project or in most other war crimes inquiries sponsored 
by the Western Allies. Western investigators were generally barred 
from gathering evidence concerning incidents that had taken place 
inside Eastern Europe, and the bulk of evidence concerning Fascist 
crimes collected by the USSR was kept sealed off from the outside 
world in carefully restricted archives. 

The Soviet position on such matters, stated briefly, was that if the 
West was holding a war crimes suspect, it should simply turn him 
or her over to the NKVD, which would conduct an investigation. 
No outside examiners were needed or wanted. Although the USSR 
did make a vital contribution to the prosecutions at Nuremberg, the 
fact remains that the unmistakable priority of Soviet investigators 
during the first years after the war was to lay hands upon any 
refugee or POW who might conceivably pose a political threat to 
regions under Russian control and only secondarily to collect evi¬ 
dence of crimes against humanity. 

Why did the Soviets refuse to cooperate more fully with the 
admittedly imperfect and limited efforts that the United States did 
make to bring war criminals to justice? The people of the Soviet 
Union, after all, had suffered far more terribly at the hands of the 
Nazis than those of the United States. And the USSR did undertake 
a massive (but usually completely independent) effort to locate and 
punish Nazis and collaborators inside the Soviet-occupied territo¬ 
ries. 

The reasons for the Soviets’ intransigence on this point are open 
to speculation. The U.S. use of CROWCASS to locate promising 
Nazi intelligence recruits was no doubt part of the reason. But that 
cannot be taken as a complete explanation; recruiting defectors 
from the enemy is, after all, a standard intelligence practice in 
wartime, one which the Soviets themselves regularly employed. 

A more persuasive argument is that especially during the period 
of the Hitler-Stalin pact, the NKVD had committed a number of 
atrocities of its own that would have been impossible to conceal if 
Western investigators were permitted access to the Soviet zone. 
Public proof of these crimes would likely have been a major setback 
for the USSR at the time, threatening the Soviets’ still-fragile hold 
over Eastern Europe and undermining the USSR’s attempts at ex¬ 
panded political and trade relations with the West. 



CROWCASS 77 


One notable example of the politically explosive nature of the 
NKVD’s crimes was the Katyn Forest massacre, which remains a 
bitter problem in Soviet-Polish relations to this day. The prepon¬ 
derance of available evidence in this still-controversial episode 
points to the conclusion that Soviet security troops executed ap¬ 
proximately 8,000 nationalist Polish army officers taken prisoner 
during 1939, then stacked the bodies like cordwood in mass graves 
at an isolated outpost. Similar NKVD mass killings of unarmed 
Ukrainian prisoners took place at Lvov, Dubno, and Vinnitsa, near 
the present Soviet-Polish border. 

Other examples include the NKVD’s forced deportation of some 
35,000 to 50,000 “suspect” Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians to 
Siberian exile in 1940 and 1941, which has remained a rigidly en¬ 
forced secret inside the USSR ever since. 11 Soviet security troops 
also seized approximately 1 million politically suspect Poles during 
the course of the war and shipped them in railroad cars to gulag 
prisons and labor camps in Central Asia and Siberia. There tens of 
thousands of them, perhaps hundreds of thousands were worked to 
death. 

Nor did these practices end with the termination of the Hitler- 
Stalin pact. By the end of the war Stalin had developed a deeply 
rooted hatred of several minority groups in the USSR that he re¬ 
garded as disloyal. As the Red Army reclaimed Soviet territory from 
the Nazis during 1943 and 1944, special police troops moved in 
behind the front to secure the ethnic minority regions of the USSR. 
In some parts of the country all the men, women, and children of 
entire Soviet nationality groups—the Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, 
Chechens, and Volga Germans, among others—were rounded up at 
gunpoint and exiled to remote settlements deep inside the country 
for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Indeed, as Nikita Khrush¬ 
chev himself later commented, the entire Ukrainian ethnic group 
“avoided meeting this fate only because there were too many of 
them and there was no place to which to deport them. Otherwise,” 
Khrushchev continued, Stalin “would have deported them also.” 12 

The political price involved in admitting such disgraces was 
clearly higher than Stalin was willing to pay, and none of this could 
have been concealed for long had the USSR fully cooperated with 
war crimes investigations. Instead, the Soviets chose to solicit what¬ 
ever CROWCASS information they could obtain through the vari¬ 
ous joint Allied control commissions and committees, at the same 
time undertaking on their own a vast criminal investigation that 



78 BLOWBACK 


was kept carefully sealed off from Western eyes. Only in this way 
was it possible to maintain the “security” of the USSR—and the 
NKVD—throughout the purges of Nazi criminals. 

It is also clear that the Soviets, like the Western Allies, were 
engaged in their own recruiting of selected Nazi agents whom they 
believed to be useful for intelligence or political purposes. The 
history of that recruitment has been suppressed in the East and is 
unlikely to be made public anytime soon. A number of documented 
cases have come to light, however, largely as a result of splits among 
Eastern Europe’s Communist parties during the last thirty years. 

Some measure of the scope of the Soviet’s Nazi recruitment 
efforts may be found in Ro mania . There the country’s Communist 
party, which was thoroughly dominated by a Muscovite clique in 
the first years after the war, swelled from about 1,000 old-timers in 
1945 to some 714,000 members by the end of 1947. Several years 
later, however, a much more nationalistic faction of Romania’s 
Communist party took control and purged many Muscovite lead¬ 
ers, including the part y chairm an Ana Pauke r and secret police 
chief Teohari Georgescu. That, in turn, led to public revelations of 
the extent to which Georgescu had relied on recruitment of Fascist 
Iron Guard veterans for his police apparatus during the first years 
after the war. According to Nicolae Ceau§escu, the Romanian 
party’s present chairman, the new ruling group purged more than 
300,000 “alien careerist elements, including Iron Guardists and 
hostile persons” who had entered the party’s ranks during the 
height of Stalin’s influence in that country. 13 Somewhat similar 
situations have been reported in both East Germany and Hungary, 
where Soviet occupation authorities permitted so-called little Nazis 
to remain in the police apparatus as a means of stabilizing power. 

Yugoslavia’s split with the USSR in 1948 also brought forth reli¬ 
able information concerning the extent to which Stalin’s secret 
police chief Lavrenti Beria relied on Nazi collaborators for clandes¬ 
tine operations. According to an official Yugoslav government state¬ 
ment to the United Nations, Beria’s police “created a vast network 
of spies . . . [trained] in the USSR and composed mainly of fascists 
who had enlisted in the one and only regiment which the Croatian 
[Ustachi] traitor Pavelic had been able to place at Hitler’s disposal.” 
The purpose of the Soviet maneuver, the Yugoslavs charged, was 
seizure of the government of their country. 

Other examples along these lines may be cited. In the Middle 
East top German espionage agent Fritz Grobba turned himself and 



CROWCASS 79 


his entire spy net over to the Russians at least as early as 1945; in 
the Balkans Nazi finance expert Carl Clodius, who had built his 
reputation in part by applying slave labor to Germany’s economic 
problems, went on to become the economics chief in the Comin- 
form’s Balkans division; in East Germany SS General Hans Ratten- 
huber, formerly commander of Hitler’s personal SS guard, re- 
emerged after the war as a senior East German political police 
official in East Berlin; and so on.* 14 Clearly the Soviets, too, were 
willing to forgive past Nazi indiscretions when it was in their inter¬ 
est to do so. 

*Examples of SS and Gestapo veterans who ended up in police work in East Germany 
include Abwehr Lieutenant General Rudolph Bamler, who collaborated with Soviet military 
intelligence following his capture by the Russians and eventually became a department head 
at state security headquarters in East Berlin; Johann Sanitzer, once in charge of the Gestapo's 
anti-Jewish work in Vienna and later an East German police major in Erfurt; and SS Captain 
Louis Hagemeister, who had once handled counterespionage for the SS and later became 
chief police interrogator in Schwerin. Ex-SS Sturmbannfiihrer Heidenreich became the 
official liaison between the East German political police and the Central Committee of the 
country's Communist party after the war. Dimitry and Nina Erdely, a husband-and-wife 
team specializing in emigre affairs for the Gestapo, ended up with the Soviet United Nations 
delegation in New York. It is likely that they had been Soviet double agents during the war. 
Maintaining their wartime cover, however, required that they “help . . . send many Soviet 
citizens to concentration camps,” as a declassified U.S. State Department report on their 
activities puts it. 

At least two former SS officers found their way onto the Central Committee of East 
Germany’s Communist party, the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands. They are Ernst 
Grossmann (a former Sachsenhausen concentration camp guard) and Waffen SS veteran 
Karlheinz Bartsch. Both were quickly purged when word of their wartime careers was 
published in the West. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 


“I . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 


The emerging East-West conflict had entered a new and clearly 
more hostile phase early in 1947. The British government, ex¬ 
hausted by war and deeply in debt, had abruptly announced that 
January that it was withdrawing from its earlier guarantees to stabil¬ 
ize power in Greece, where a bitter civil war was raging between 
left-wing rebels and British-backed Greek monarchist forces. Presi¬ 
dent Truman blamed the Soviets for the crisis and stepped in with 
a multimillion-dollar aid program for the “democratic” forces in 
Greece—though there is considerable dispute over just how demo¬ 
cratic they actually were—and with a series of campaigns to restrict 
the activities of pro-Communist movements in both the Middle 
East and Europe. 

Truman claimed that the Soviets were underwriting the Greek 
insurgency and asserted that this justified a major U.S. commitment 
in that country. In fact, however, t he Greek l eft was primarif yjm 
What outside aid the Greek reBels did enjoy came 
to’s Yugoslavia, which was already having serious 
problems of its own with Stalin. 1 

Be that as it may, it was clear to the Americans that commu¬ 
nism was to be regarded as the main enemy in Greece. After lib¬ 
eration in 1944, political power in that country had teetered un¬ 
easily between a nationalist-Communist alliance dominated by 
the Greek Communist party (EAM), on the one hand, and the 

80 



81 


‘ 7 . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 

weakened Greek monarchist forces. Both groups had fought the 
Nazi occupation during the war, though with varying degrees 
of dedication. When the British announced in early 1947 that 
they were withdrawing their sponsorship of the monarchists, 
almost every observer concluded that a leftist victory was at 
hand. 

There was, however, another force in Greece, and it is to them 
that U.S. Intelligence turned. This was known as the Holy Bond of 
Greek Officers, or I DEA , by its Greek initials. This organization was 
made up in large part of Nazi collaborators. The Greek army and 
police were well known to have been controlled by rightists since 
the 1930s, and the bulk of those forces had collaborated with the 
Nazis during the German occupation. These sympathizers created 
“security battalions” during the war to hunt down anti-Nazi parti¬ 
sans and to execute Jews who had escaped from the ghetto at 
Salonika. These detachments were responsible for the murders of 
tens of thousands of Greeks during the occupation, according to all 
accounts, and directly assisted the Nazis in the liquidation of about 
70,000 Greek Jews. After the Nazis had been driven out of the 
country, however, the security battalions and their officers were in 
deep disgrace. Colonel George Papadopoulos helped create IDEA 
shortly after the Nazis had been driven out of Greece, ostensibly to 
protect the Greek population from Communist attack. “In reality,” 
however, the Times of London later reported, “a principal activity 
of IDEA was to secure rehabilitation of those officers who had been 
initially purged by the post-liberation coalition government be¬ 
cause of their activities in the collaborationist ‘security battalions’ 
of the occupation years.” 2 

Secret Pentagon papers now in the U.S. National Archives show 
that t he Un ited States poured millio ns of dollars into IDEA during 
the UTS. intervention in Greece in order to create what it termed 
“Secret Army Reserve” made up of selected Greek military, police, 
and anti-Communist militia officers. Sufficient money, arms, and 
supplies to equip a fighting force of at least 15,000 men were 
shipped to Greece in connection with this program alone. This 
semiclandestine army soon emerged with American backing as the 
central “democratic” force in Greece, and a long line of latter-day 
Greek strongmen such as Colonel Papadopoulos* (who eventually 

*Greek central intelligence agency chief Papadopoulos and several of his top lieutenants 
have repeatedly been accused of being Nazi collaborators. After Papadopoulos had seized 
total power in Greece in a bloody coup in 1967, U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf denounced him 



82 BLOWBACK 


took control of the CIA-supported Greek central intelligence 
agency, KYP) and military leaders General Alexander Natsinas and 
General Nicolaos Gogoussis have been drawn from IDEA’S ranks. 3 

American arms and money had a powerful impact in Greece. 
Many Greek nationalist forces abandoned their former EAM al¬ 
lies—in part because of the brutality of the EAM in its execution of 
an attempted guerrilla war against the U.S.-backed forces—and 
within two years a strongly pro-American government had 
achieved control of the country. 

Truman’s decisive action in Greece had wider ramifications. It 
helped crystallize sentiment inside the U.S. government, which up 
to that point had often been divided over just how harshly to deal 
with the USSR, into a new and much more obdurate approach to 
U.S.-Soviet relations. This new strategy marked an important wa¬ 
tershed in the development of U.S. efforts to make use of Nazis and 
Nazi sympathizers, eventually creating the administrative struc¬ 
ture and bureaucratic rationale for their utilization on an even 
wider scale than before. 

The thinking behind this strategy was perhaps best articulated by 
George F. Kennan, the State Department expert on Soviet affairs 
who at the time had recently been appointed chief of the depart¬ 
ment’s Policy Planning Staff. Kennan had served several tours of 
diplomatic duty in Moscow over the previous two decades, and his 
experience there had left him deeply bitter about both Stalin’s 
dictatorship and the prospects for East-West cooperation. His antip¬ 
athy toward Stalin had kept him isolated from the policy process 
during the Roosevelt administration, when relatively close U.S.- 
USSR ties were backed by the White House. He had come into his 
own, however, in the Truman years. His famous 1946 “Long Tele¬ 
gram” from Moscow (as it has since come to be known) became a 
rallying cry for those at State, the War Department, and the White 
House who were determined to get tough with the Russians. That 
message read, as Kennan himself later recalled, “exactly like one of 
those primers put out by alarmed congressional committees or by 
the Daughters of the American Revolution, designed to arouse the 
citizenry to the dangers of the Communist conspiracy.” Even so, 


from the floor of the U.S. Senate, calling his junta “a military regime of collaborators and Nazi 
sympathizers . . . [who are] receiving American aid.” 

Interestingly enough, one of Papadopoulos’s first acts on taking power in Greece was to 
decree that time spent serving in the Greek security battalions of World War II would count 
toward government pensions. 



83 


. . Prefer to Remain Ignorant ” 

“its effect . . . was nothing less than sensational/’ he writes. “It was 
one that changed my career and my life in very basic ways. . . . My 
reputation was made. My voice now carried.” 4 

By the time the United States intervened in Greece, Kennan 
enjoyed the direct sponsorship of Secretary of the Navy (soon to be 
Secretary of Defense) James ForrestaL and of Secretary of State 
Q^orgeMarshall. Acting on ForrestaFs behalf, Kennan prepared a 
pivotal analysisof the USSR that has since come to be called the 
“containment doctrine” and is generally recognized as one of the 
basic programmatic statements of the cold war. In it, Kennan suc¬ 
ceeded in reconciling many of the inchoate and conflicting per¬ 
spectives on how to deal with the Soviets that had characterized 
Truman’s administration up to that point. He argued that U.S.- 
Soviet relations were a fundamentally hostile, protracted conflict 
that had been initiated by the USSR—not the United States—and 
that normal relations between the two states would be impossible 
as long as a Soviet type government was in power in the USSR. 
Their “ideology,” he wrote, . . has taught them that the outside 
world was hostile and that it was their duty eventually to overthrow 
the political forces beyond their borders.... [This] means that there 
can never be on Moscow’s side any sincere assumption of a commu¬ 
nity of aims between the Soviet Union and powers which are re¬ 
garded as capitalist.” 

The USSR was an imperial empire, Kennan continued, but the 
modern-day East-West clash could be managed through measures 
short of all-out war through what he termed “long term, patient but 
firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies” 
and the “adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series 
of constantly shifting geographical and political points.” As origi¬ 
nally formulated, the containment doctrine envisioned bottling up 
internal pressures inside the USSR until they forced the Soviet 
Union to “cooperate or collapse,” as Newsweek summarized it, a 
process that was expected to take about ten to fifteen years. “Soviet 
p ower. ” Kennan concluded, “.. . bears within it the seeds ofi ts own , 
fl^ay^and^ . . thejrprouting of these~seedsTs well^a dvan cedT^ 

Kennan was later toasserFfhaF his ThtentfonTit the time he pre¬ 
pared his analysis was to say that the “counterforce” and “contain¬ 
ment” that gave the doctrine its name should employ political, not 
military, tactics. The phrases quoted above, he said, were misinter- \ 
preted by Secretary of Defense Forrestal and others when they 
used Kennan’s formulations to promote NATO, a giant arms bud- 



84 BLOWBACK 


/ get, the permanent division of Germany, and a number of other 
J policies that the diplomat opposed. 6 

Regardless of Kennan’s reservations, it was precisely these more 
aggressive aspects of containment that attracted Forrestal and 
other hard-liners in the Truman administr ation . In their hands, 
containment became the theoretical framework for U.S.-Soviet re¬ 
lations under which a wide variety of clandestine warfare tactics,_ 
ranging from radje j3ropa^andaTd~sab otage.and£lffllM§r3Lwas cho-_ 
"sen~to ~~counferact—“contai n”= 3 l eft-wing initiatives vi rtually any-_ 
wHereinthe world. 

Although it was rarely mentioned in the public discussions, it is 
clear that c overt opera tions_aimed at harassing_(andi impossible,, 
over throw in g-),h_o stile governments 'were an integral part of the 
containment strategy from the begi nning . A new breed of real- 
^j oolitik advocate s^ among~~tHe~~government’s national security spe¬ 
cialists embraced containment as a rationale for what has since 
come to be called “destabilization” of tRe USSR and.it s sate llites^. 
Put briefly, destabilizataonTsa Type of psychological or political 
warfare that is calculated to undermine a target government, to 
destroy its popular support or credibility, to create economic prob¬ 
lems, or to draw it into crisis through some other means. U.S. secu¬ 
rity planners of the late 1940s became fascinated with the prospect 
of destabilizing the Soviet Union’s satellite states while simultane¬ 
ously harassing the USSR. They were anxious to capitalize on the 
spontaneous rebellions against Soviet rule then rumbling through 
the Ukraine and parts of Eastern Europe, some of which were 
approaching civil wars in intensity. 

As is well known, Kennan’s public work during this period con¬ 
centrated on development of the Marshall Plan for t he economic 
recovery of Europe and on U.S.^p oIIcyiri the Far E ast^botFofwhich 
were tasks with farTeachTng”Implications that have enjoyed 
lengthy treatment in cold war historiography ever since. Less un¬ 
derstood, however, is the role heTplayed in "development of Ameri¬ 
can covert operations abroad. Kennan was deeply involved in 
preparations for several la rge-scale clandestine propag anda a nd 
guerrilla warfare proiects ^ aimed at Eastern Europe at the same 
time he was preparing the containment paper for Forrestal. 7 

Use of former Nazi collaborators became interwoven with these 
clandestine destabilization efforts and with the containment doc¬ 
trine in general from 1947 on. According to Pentagon records, at 
the same time that Kennan was publicly promulgating contain- 



7 . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 


85 


ment, he and his close colleague Charles Thayer were lobbying 
with top Department of State and military officials for a revival of 
the remnants of the Nazi collaborationist Vlasov Army for use 
against the USSR. Kennan and Thayer pushed for the creation of 
a new school for anti-Communist guerrilla warfare training de¬ 
signed to bring together U.S. military specialists, Vlasov veterans, 
and other Eastern European exiles from Soviet satellite states. Sev^ 
eral such schools were eventually estab lished in Germany and in 
ItTie^UnitecrStates and served not only as a training ground for 
insurgents but also as a source of highly skilled recruits for a variety 

their attitudes 

toward revitalization of the Vlasov Army and similar organizations 
of former Nazi collaborators is worth examining as an illustration of 
a broader shift in opinion that was under way in American national 
security circles as the cold war deepened. Kennan, Thayer, and a 
number of other latter-day U.S. experts on Soviet affairs had first 
encountered one another at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during 
the mid-1980s. The outpost where the young men worked was, as 
Kennan put it later, “in many respects a pioneer enterprise—a 
wholly new type of American [diplomatic] mission—the model and 
the precursor of a great many missions of a later day.” Following 
more than a century of relative isolationism in American foreign 
policy, the U.S. center in Moscow was “the first to cope seriously 
. . . with the problems of security—of protection of codes and files 
and the privacy of intra-office discussion—in a hostile environ¬ 
ment,” according to the diplomat. 9 

The intelligence work of the Moscow staff was much more sophis¬ 
ticated than that under way at other U.S. embassies of the prewar 
period. The Russian embassy staff (particularly Kennan and his col¬ 
league Charl es Bohlen) developed a technique that was then new 
for the Americans and that later became the intelligence analysis 
backbone of the wartime OSS and still later of the CIA. Unlike more 
traditional consular reports of foreign trade regulations, court in¬ 
trigues, and similar diplomatic chitchat, this new approach in¬ 
cluded the systematic collection of published materials concerning 
a given country, then the supplementing of those data with infor¬ 
mation gleaned from secret sources and espionage, and finally the 
interpretation of the lot by researchers with extensive backgrounds 
in the subject area. This method has more in common with good 
scholarship or journalism than it does with James Bond types of 


ofjjther American clandesti ne operations as well. 8 
TheTstory of how Kennan and Thayer developed 



86 BLOWBACK 




affairs, though there was room for those, too. By late 1936, accord¬ 
ing to Kennan, use of these techniques had made the U.S. Embassy 
one of the best informed and most highly respected diplomatic 
missions in Moscow. There was only one rival when it came to 
collection of information on the USSR. That contender was the 
embassy of Nazi Germany, whose inside knowledge of Soviet affairs 
was, as Kennan puts it, “at all times excellent.” 10 

Kennan, Thayer, Bohlen, and a number of the other U.S. diplo¬ 
matic personnel in Moscow established enduring friendships with 
several top German diplomats during this period, including senior 
Konsul Gustav Hilger, Military Attache Ernst Kostring, and Second 
Secretary Hans Heinrich Herwarth. Such men were at the core of 
Germany’s diplomatic expertise on the USSR, and they shared both 
professional and personal interests with their American col¬ 
leagues. 11 

These bonds survived the war. Thayer, as it turned out, in 1945 
became chief of the OSS in Austria. There he rediscovered Her¬ 
warth—who, it will be recalled, had served as a senior political 
officer of the Wehrmacht’s Osttruppen (eastern troops) program for 
recruiting collaborators during the conflict—when Herwarth 
turned himself in after Germany’s formal surrender. 

Their 1945 reunion was warm and mutually profitable. Thayer 
regarded Herwarth as “an old friend who happened to be a captain 
in the German Army,” as he put it later, and used the power of his 
OSS office to intervene on the German’s behalf. Thayer considered 
Herwarth to be an anti-Nazi and an excellent source of information 
on Soviet affairs. Thayer remembered from his embassy days, for 
example, that Herwarth had in 1939 leaked secret information to 
the Americans concerning the Hitler-Stalin Pact. He knew that 
Herwarth had been a friend of Claus von Stauffenberg (who had 
organized the July 20, 1944, attempted assassination of Hitler) and 
that Herwarth, like a number of other German political warfare 
experts, had been critical of Hitler’s policies in the East prior to the 
war. 

Thayer also knew that Herwarth had been involved in the defec¬ 
tor troops’ antipartisan warfare in Yugos lavia in 1944 , for he has 
admitted thisTTimself, and it wasTiis responsibility as OSS chief in 
Austria to know that those campaig ns had been marked by thou¬ 
sa nds of mass ex ecution of civilian hostages, looting of village s, and 
other cri mes. Even so, Thayer quickly arrangedTorHerwarth to be 
demobilized from the Wehrmacht, kept out of U.S. POW camps, 


87 


“I. . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 

and freed from American custody without even the cursory investi¬ 
gation of wartime activities given to noncommisioned officers. 

“None of us had as yet any inkling of what really hapened on the 
Russian front since June 22, 1941 [when the Germans invaded],” 
Thayer explained later. “There were a lot of questions that he 
[Herwarth] could answer, and from my experience with him before 
the war I was sure those answers would not be only reliable but 
expert.” 12 

“For about nine weeks I remained with Charlie,” Herwarth 
writes. “He asked me to write down my experiences in the war with 
the Soviet Union, and especially to describe the activities of the 
Freiwilliganverbande [the Germans’ collaborationist troops in the 
East]. Every day, I went with Charlie [to] his office, which was in 
the old monastery of St. Peter. ... In late summer I was assigned 
to the American historical research group [at Camp King]. . . .” 13 

Thayer credits Herwarth, more than anyone else, for educating 
him about German political warfare efforts in the East and about 
the anti-Communist potential of the collaborationist troops that had 
served under German command. With Thayer’s help, Herwarth 
emerged as one of the first, and certainly one of the most influential, 
German advocates of resurrecting the Vlasov Army and similar 
collaborators for use against the USSR. Herwarth was uniquely qua¬ 
lified for the task. In addition to having served as Kostring’s political 
officer, he had also represented the Wehrmacht at the official 
founding of the Komitet Osvobozhdeniia Narodov Rossii (KONR), 
the political arm of the Vlasov Army that had been created under 
Nazi auspices. 

Herwarth’s value to the OSS at the time of his work for Thayer 
lay in his ability to identify useful Germans with expertise on the 
USSR and Eastern Europe. Among the first such experts to be 
plucked out of the squalid U.S. POW camps in Germany were 
Gustav Hilger; Herwarth’s commandant, Kostring; and many of 
the surviving members of the German Embassy’s prewar staff in 
Moscow. Some, like Kostring and Herwarth, were immediately 
put to work writing intelligence reports for the Americans on 
what they knew about the Red Army and the Germans’ use of 
collaborators. Others, like Hilger, received the full VIP treatment, 
complete with secret trips to the United States for debriefing at 
the special army facility for senior German POWs at Fort Hunt, 
Virginia. 14 

Through these channels and others like them Kennan, Thayer, 



88 BLOWBACK 


and other American specialists on Soviet affairs learned of the de¬ 
tails of German political warfare in the East. The Americans’ later 
acts strongly suggest that they also accepted the basic features of 
Herwarth’s version of what had taken place there: that the eastern 
troops were idealistic volunteers who had been motivated by a 
desire to overthrow Stalin’s dictatorship; that they had not been 
involved in—and indeed had not even heard of—Nazi war crimes 
until the conflict was over; and that the collaborators were really 
pro-Western and prodemocracy at heart. 

George Kennan’s perspective on Nazi war crimes is relevant 
here because it bears on the question of how closely he was willing 
to look at the wartime careers of those in the Vlasov Army and 
similar groups during his service as a senior U.S. national security 
"“strategist. He has written that he viewed the Nuremberg war 
crimes tribunal with “horror,” not because of the evidence of Nazi 
criminality presented there but rather because the trial and judg- 
i ment of the Nazis themselves may have impeded improving U.S.- 
German relations in the wake of the war. 

As Kennan saw it, a thorough purging of Nazis and even of war 
criminals from postwar German governments was undesirable for 
several reasons. He summed up his views on this topic in a wartime 
memo prepared for the European Advisory Commission in Lon¬ 
don, whose job it was to hammer out joint U.S.-British policies for 
relations with Germany after the war. First, he argued, “it is im¬ 
practicable,” because the Allies could never cooperate efficiently 
enough to do the job. “Second . . . whether we like it or not,” the 


1 diplomat wrote, “nip^tenths of ancLrespected 

' in Germapy has been poured into those very categories which we 
^have in mind” for purging from the German government—namely, 


f^t hose wh oji ad been “more t hap ^nominal me mbers-of^the,.Nazf 
^ JlS^T^B^theiHhanTemove the^present rulin£class of Germany,” 
as he put it, it would be better to "TToIHTf [that class] strictly to its 


p 


task and teach it the lessons we wish it to learn.” 15 

The actions of the Nazis and their collaborators reflected the 


“customs of warfare which have prevailed generally in Eastern 
Europe and Asia for centuries in the past,” Kennan wrote to Ambas¬ 
sador John G. Winant at that time, “they are not the peculiar prop¬ 
erty of the Germans. ... If others wish, in the face of this situation, 
to pursue the illumination of those sinister recesses in which the 
brutalities of this war find their record, they may do so,” he con¬ 
cluded. But “the degree of relative guilt which such inquiries may 


7 . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 


89 


bring to light is something of which I, as an American, prefer to 
remain ignorant.” 16 

By 1947, then, a bold perspective on how to wage the cold war 
had begun to take shape in the minds of Kennan, Thayer (who by 
that time had been appointed director of the Voice of America), 
and most other national security strategists in Washington. As 
Thayer sums it up, this theory held that Hitler’s wartime offensive 
in the East had failed primarily because of his failure to follow the 
advice of political warfare experts such as Herwarth. The German 
experience, however, had “proved” that the population of the 
USSR was eager for life without Stalin and that millions of people 
in the Soviet Union and its satellites could be rallied against commu¬ 
nism through new promises of democracy, religious freedom, and 
an end to police state rule. 


Not_alldhe clandestine c ontainm ent^ programs were aimedat the 
USSR and i t ssateHites TSome of the most important early applica¬ 
tions of these tactics began in Western Europe. TLe Jtalian elgctfQns 
of earjy 1948 marked another important milestone in the develop¬ 
ment ofUTSTcovert operations and in high-level U.S. support for use 
of former Nazi collaborators. Two developments of far-reaching 
importance for these programs took place during this election cam¬ 
paign. First, U.S. security agencies successfully tested a series of 
propagan da and political m anipulation techniques that we^Jjh£j* 
tq£q?TRrin^^ the world,Including ^inside the 

Unite d States itself. Secondly, the Cl A established much deeper, 
and broader tieTw ith the hierarchy of ffi^RTmiilm Catholic Church 
in^omTthan had'prBVmus^ had a 

powerful impact on the Italian political scene but also—as is dis¬ 
cussed in a later chapter—laid the foundation for the agency’s rela¬ 
tionship with Interma riuin , an influential Catholic lay organi zation^ 
m^de'UpqirimaTiEylof EajterunEuropean exileslthat operated under^ 
the protection of th e V a tican. At least a ha lf doze n senior leaders 
ofThf erm arium and its^me mber gpoups carTbe readilyjdenbffecTas 
NazT^coI laborator s. Some were fugitive war criminals. Howevhr, 
Intermafium^wa^aterTo^emerge as one*"of thffmainstays of Radio 
Free Europe, Radio Liberation from Bolshevism (later renamed 
Radio Liberty), and scores of other CIA-sponsored clandestine op¬ 
erations during the next two decades. 

The Italian Communist party was favored to score heavily in the 
1948 elections, and many analysts said that the party might demo- 



90 BLOWBACK 


cratically win control of the country’s government. This prospect 
created such alarm in Washington that George Kennan—by then 
the foremost long-range strategist for the U.S. government—went 
so far as to advocate direct U.S. military occupation of the Foggia 
oil fields if the voting results went wrong from the point of view of 
the United States. 17 

Washington’s apprehension was shared—indeed, was enthusiasti¬ 
cally fueled—by the Holy See. The church’s hierarchy, which was 
already under severe economic^and^political pressure in Eastern 
Europe, feared a Communist takeover of the very heart of its insti¬ 
tution, or~atTeast of its worldl y reso urces. The prospect of a Com¬ 
munist electoral victory in Italy coming close on the heels of Com¬ 
munist gains in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland 
was viewed by many of the hierarchy as the most profoun d materia l 
crisis the church had se en in centuries ."ProcKurcirTtalian officials 
were' rr positively desperate and almost immobilized by the fear 
which hangs over them,” Bishop James Griffiths, an American emis¬ 
sary to the Vatican, wrote at the time. They were afraid, the bishop 
said, of a “disastrous failure at the polls which will put Italy behind 
the Iron Curtain.” 18 

The election campaign became a major test of containment and 
of its accompanying clandestine political warfare strategy. Allen 
Dulles, Frank Wisner, James Angleton, William Colby, and a team 
of other top-ranked U.S. intelligence officials put together a crash 
program of propaganda, sabotage, and se cret fu nding of Christian 
De mocratic can didates designed to frustrate the Italian Commu¬ 
nist party’s ambitions? The CIA was a young organization in those 
days and was primarily limited (until June 1948) to simple informa¬ 
tion gathering and analysis. Therefore, much of this campaign was 
handled on an ad hoc basis out of the offices of Allen and John Foster 
Dulles , atthe Sulli va n & Cromwell law fir m in~1VewTork. ~Kennan 
watched events unfold frorrTKis vantage point at State Department 
headquarters in Washington, while Thayer kept up a steady can¬ 
nonade of pro-West and anti-Communist broadcasts over the Voice 
of America. 

Working in close coordination with the Vatican and with promi¬ 
nent Americans of Italian or Catholic heritage, the CIA found that 
its effort in Italy succeeded well beyond its expectations. On a 
public level the United States dumped $350 million in announced 
civil and military aid into the country during this campaign alone. 
Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, and a score of other 



91 


“/. . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 

prominent Americans were enlisted to make radio broadcasts to 
Italy warning against the Communist electoral menace.* A CIA- 
financed media blitz showered Italian newspapers with articles and 
photographs expressing American munificence and Communist 
atrocities, both real and manufactured. The archbishops of Milan 
and Palermo announced that anyone who voted for the Communist 
party’s candidates was prohibited from receiving absolution or con¬ 
fession. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant went further. Communists 
“may not have a Christian burial or be buried in holy grounds,” he 
pronounced. 

Francis Cardinal Spellmanj ff New Y ork served as a crucial go - 
bet w eenTi rC I A 1 Vat ic aiine g otia t i o ns. “The Vatican [has] been pro¬ 
mised that American funds would be made available to assist in the 
presentation of the anti-Communist appeal to the Italian public,” 
Spellman wrote following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State 
Marshall. The U.S. government, the cardinal said, had secretly 
“released large sum sln 'blacfT currency’ in Ita ly_t o the Ca tholic 
Church.” 19 This “black currency” did not come from the American 
taxpayers. Rather, a substantial part of the funding for clandestine 
activities in Italy came from captured Nazi German assets, includ¬ 
ing money and go ldjdiat the Nazis ha d looted from theJejxs*- 

The trail of this tainted money dates back to 1941, when the War 
Powers Act authorized the U.S. Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization 
Fund to serve as a holding pool for captured Nazi valuables—cur¬ 
rency, gold, precious metals, and even stocks and bonds—seized as 
the Germans or other Axis governments attempted to smuggle 
them out of Europe. The captured wealth, which eventually totaled 
tens of millions of dollars, included substantial amounts of blood 
money that the Nazis had pillaged from their victims. Indeed, it was 
precisely this type of criminal booty that overeager Nazis had most 
frequently attempted to export from Europe. 

The Exchange Stabilization Fund was authorized to safeguard 
the portion of the Nazi hoard that had been uncovered and confis¬ 
cated by the United States in the Safehaven program, which 
sought to interdict the German smuggling efforts. The official pur¬ 
pose of the fund was to serve as a hedge against inflation and 
as a bankers’ tool to dampen the effects of currency speculation 
in the fragile economies of postwar Europe and Latin America. In 

*There is no evidence that Crosby, Sinatra, and Cooper were aware of the seamier aspects 
of the U.S. government’s campaign in Italy or that they knew that U.S. intelligence was 
underwriting the publicity campaign to which they lent their names. 



92 BLOWBACK 


reality, this pool of money became a secret source of financing 
for U.S. clandestine operations in the early days of the CIA. 20 

The first known payments from the Exchange Stabilization ac¬ 
counts for covert work were made during the hotly contested Ital¬ 
ian election. The CIA withdrew about $10 million from the fund in 
late 1947, laundered it through a myriad of bank accounts, then 
used that money to finance sensitive Italian operations. This was the 
“black currency” that Cardinal Spellman asserted was given to the 
Vatican for anti-Communist agitation. 

Much of the CIA’s $10 million Italian war chest was delivered 
through clandestine campaign contributions to Christian Demo¬ 
cratic candidates. The agency, it is true, refused to fund openly 
Fascist candidates. A “conscious policy was made both in Washing¬ 
ton and Rome,” former CIA Director William Colby writes, “that 
no help of any kind was to go to the Neo-Fascists or Monarchists.” 
Instead, the center parties were to be strengthened to form what 
Colby terms a “stable, viable and truly democratic governing ma¬ 
jority.” The reasons for this strategy were both ideological and 
pragmatic: “Any strengthening of the Neo-Fascists and Monarch¬ 
ists, we recognized, would inevitably weaken the Liberals and 
Christian Democrats [the CIA’s favored parties in this case], for that 
was the only place from which added strength could come to them, 
not from the Communists.” 21 

Colby’s comment is correct. What it fails to reveal, however, is 
the fact that many of the remnants of the Fascists’ wartime ruling 
apparatus, as well as most of the police, had joined Christian Demo¬ 
cratic ranks after 1945. The CIA’s “b lack currency” in Italy may not 
have gone to the discredited dieharaFascist groups, but it did go 
to cleri cs and other leaders who were themselves closely tied to 
Fascist rule. ’ 

The curious events surrounding Monsignor Don Giuseppe Bic- 
chierai of Milan are disturbing. Bicchierai had served during the 
closing months of the war as an intermediary in surrender negotia¬ 
tions between Allen Dulles of the OSS, on the one hand, and Walter 
Rauff of the SS and SD. Rauff, in turn, was representing SS General 
Karl Wolff and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, who were the sen¬ 
ior German police and military officials in Italy. The OSS called 
these negotiations “Operation Sunrise.” They played a large role in 
establishing the reputation of Allen Dulles as a consummate spy 
master, though a strong argument may be made for the contention 
that they failed to shorten the war in Italy by a single day. Be that 



7 . . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant” 


93 


as it may, it is clear that Sunrise established a close working relation¬ 
ship between Dulles and Bicchierai that was to flower in the years 
ahead. 

But first there is the matter of Walter Rauff. Rauff was a major war 
criminal. He had personally developed and administered the noto¬ 
rious gas truck execution program which took the lives of approxi¬ 
mately 250,000 people, most of them Jewish women and children 
who died in unspeakable filth and agony. Rauff escaped from 
Europe in 1948, traveling |ji£]_ta,&yna and later to^ outfrAmeric a. 

An extensive study of RaufPs life by thelfimon Wiesenthal Center 
suggests that Monsi gnor Bicchier ai may have helped Rauff and 
other Nazi fugitives escape from war crimes charges by aiding their 
flight from Europe. According to the Wiesenthal report, Rauff was 
interned atiKelSmini POW camp for about eighteen months after 
the war but succeeded in slipping away under mysterious circum¬ 
stances in December 1946. Wiesenthal believes that it was Bic¬ 
chierai who sheltered Rauff after this escape and arranged for him 
to stay secretly “in the ^onvenfsjof the Holy See,” as Rauff himself 
testified”years later. Ran a year, then 
used false passports to travel to Syria and South America. Wiesen¬ 
thal has rep eated ly asked Popejohn Paul II to open an investigation 
irfEo^iccHferai^l^relnTHis affair. S o far these requestiTTave been 
i gnored?^ 


*What Allen Dulles knew, if anything, of the circumstances of RaufFs escape from Europe 
is open to question. He fails to comment on the matter at all in his own history of the 1945 
negotiations, The Secret Surrender . State Department files, however, contain an intriguing 
top secret memorandum dated September 17, 1947, that casts some new light on the depart¬ 
ment’s attitude concerning war criminals who participated in the Sunrise negotiations. 

Sometime shortly before that date, the U.S. political adviser’s office in Germany cabled 
Washington requesting information on how to handle war criminals who claimed that they 
had been involved with Sunrise. The text of this message is missing from State’s archives, but 
the answer to the query has been located. It reads: “Officials concerned with Operation 
Sunrise report no, repeat no, promises furnished,” State’s longtime head of security Jack Neal 
wired back to Germany. “However, these officials are of the opinion ... that allies owe some 
moral obligation in return for aid performed and risks taken, therefore, definite considera¬ 
tion should be given to those favorable aspects when weighing any war crimes with which 
they are charged.” __ 

Each of the SS officers involved in Operation Sunrise managed to escape serious punish- N 
ment after the war despite the fact that each was a major war criminal. A U.S. military 
tribunal tried Walter Schellenberg, who had helped trap and exterminate the Jews of France. 
He was convicted but freed shortly thereafter under a clemency from the U.S. high commis¬ 
sioner for Germany, John McCloy. Schellenberg became an adviser to the British intelligence 
service. The gas truck commander Rauff, as noted in the text, escaped under mysterious 
circumstances to South America. SS Obersturmbannfiihrer Eugen Dollman, who had been 
instrumental in the killing programs directed at Italian Jews, was in American hands in 1947 
yet managed to escape to Switzerland in the early 1950s. 



94 BLOWBACK 


Walter Rauff was still hiding in the “convents of the Holy See,” 
as he put it, when the CIA provided his sponsor Monsignor Bic- 
chierai with enough money to buy Jeeps, bedding, and guns for an 
underground squadron of some 300 anti-Communist Italian youths 
for use during the 1948 elections. 23 The job of this band was beat¬ 
ings of left-wing candidates and activists, breaking up political 
meetings, and intimidating voters. Bicchierai’s troops became the 
forerunners of a number of other similar paramilitary gangs funded 
by the CIA in Germany, Greece, Turkey, and several other coun¬ 
tries over the next decade .A 

The CIA’s strategy in Italy, including Monsignor Bicchierai’s 
strong-arm squad, was a great success. The Italian Communists lost 
by a comfortable margin, and the American jnteUi genc e.^.services, 
emerg^d wjth the Catholic Chu rch as_ a powerfuknew ally. Perhaps 
most importanPoFallTThe stra tegy of using covext^peration^Jto^ 
achieve-political goals i lT'pe ace time waslBrmlyjTnplan ted in the 
'rpinds o£ Washm^^nTForeign j^dlic^elite as a powerful weapon in 
an increasingly dangerous cofd warT~~~ " 

The utility of the,ney^covert op erations apgaratus^seemed clear 
at the time: It permitt ed the White House to circumvent the cu m- „ 
berspme bui^eaucxa.cy of Cqiigress~andTllc Departmen^of StoteJn 
the field oFforeign afiFairs; it extended the reaclfbf the United States 
with what appeared to be relatively little risk; and it permitted the 
president sec retl y to ca rry-out actionsJ:hatjvypulcl_ discredit the^ 
United Statesjf thex,w§rej4ndertaken openly. Covert action was 
alsoTelatively cheap, at least compared with the costs involved in 
maintaining a permanent military presence throughout the world. 

George Kennan, in particular, “was deeply impressed by the 
results achieved in Italy,” according to Sig Mickelson, the longtime 
chief of Radio Free Europe. “And [Kennan] foresaw similar crises 
arising in the future.” Kennan was “directly concerned with the 
refugee problem and worried about the weakness of the nation’s 
intelligence apparatus,” Mickelson writes. “[He] advocated the cre¬ 
ation of a covert action capability designed to complement covert 


Himmler’s personal adjutant SS Gruppenfuhrer Karl Wolff was sentenced to “time served” 
in a denazification proceeding in 1949, then released altogether without any objection from 
the U.S. occupation authorities. Fifteen years later a West German court tried Wolff a second 
time. Then, he was convicted of administering the murder of 300,000 persons, most of them 
Jews, and of overseeing SS participation in slave labor programs at I. G. Farben and other 
major German companies. Wolff served seven years of a life sentence, then was released 
again. 



“I. . . Prefer to Remain Ignorant’' 95 

psychological operations somewhere in the governmental struc¬ 
ture. . . . His intention was to create a mechan ism for di rect jnter- 
y gntion in the electoral processe s of foreign^ govgnimen ts,”~tHe 
former Radio Free Europe presidenFcontinues. “It would be under 
the control of the Department of State, specifically [Kennan’s own] 
policy planning staff, but it would not be formally associated with 
the department. State was still skittish about dealing openly with 
foreign governments on the one hand [while] carrying out covert 
destabilizing efforts on the other.” 24 

Greece in 1947 and Italy in 1948 also taught the CIA that it could 
employ former Nazi collaborators on a large scale in clandestine 
operations and get away with it. U.S. national security planners 
appear to have concluded that extreme-right-wing groups that had 
once collaborated with the Nazis should be included in U.S.-spon¬ 
sored anti-Communist coalitions, for the participation of such 
groups became a regular feature of U.S. covert operations in 
Europe in the wake of the Greek and Italian events. 

A case may be made for the idea that doing so was simply real- 
politik. Former collaborators were, after all, a substantial organized 
force, so why not make use of them? At the time the benefits of 
using former Nazi collaborators appeared to outweigh any draw¬ 
backs. The Ame rican media —and the American people, for the^^ 
most part—war rplv wel comed the victories of Eur opean center 
par ties over their Communist rivals. T here were few public ques- / , 
tions~concerning exactlyTiow these successes had been brought 
about. The long-range implications for this policy were, as shall be 
seen, more problematic. 



CHAPTER EIGHT 


Bloodstone 


The Greek and Italian campaigns revealed something else as well: 
Co vert action was largely out of the control of the established fo r- 
,gign poli cy apparatusin~Washing ton, Although the Italian opera¬ 
tion KacTbeen endorsed by all the appropriate government commit¬ 
tees, not one of them had really known what was under way. The 
ease with which Repu blican activists A llen an d Jo hn Foste r Dulle s, 
had commandeered control Tif Ameri ca’s largest postwar secret 
campaTgn TdTl ate was bound to "raise eyebrows at Truman’s Na¬ 
tional Security Council. The closely contested 1948 Truman- 
Dewey U.S. presidential election was only months away, and John 
Foster Dulles was, after all, among the Republican challengers’ 
most influential foreign affairs strategists. The implications of 
conceding th is much power t o t he political opposition— o r. equally, 
.daiigeroiisTTcTthe military—were not lost on the White House. 


Serious blunaersm secret U.S. political warfare operations in¬ 
volving Eastern European nationals had already taken place. Most 
notable of these was a bungled U.S.-backed^coi^3ttempt,i | a~Rs- 
mania in March 1947. CircumsfantTaTevidence^uggests that a still- 
activ^plinleFbFElTe old OSS was behind the operation, though the 
fufl storv has yet to be told. It is clear, however, that the Romanian 
affair was undTrtakehTvTthout the knowledge of the secretary oL , 
State, who had directlyTorb idden such meddling because of sensi¬ 
tive ongoing negotiations over U.STTnvestments in the Ploesti oil 



96 


Bloodstone 97 


fields. The attempted coup took place with such amateurishness 
ImafTfie conspirators took “stenographic notes ... of the [clandes¬ 
tine] proceedings ... and placed [them] on file with other persons/’ 
according to Robert Bishop, a longtime American intelligence 
agent in Romania. This, Bishop notes blandly, “was a foolhardy 
procedure/’ 1 The conspirators were soon rounded up by Romanian 
police, tried, and sent to jail for many years. U.S.-Romanian rela¬ 
tions, already tense, further soured. The Ploesti oil field negotia¬ 
tions failed. 

Secretary of State George Marshall counted on George Kennan 
to make sure that obvious blunders like the Romanian affair did not 
occur again. By the summer of 1948 Truman and Marshall had 
delegated personal responsibility for political oversight of all peace¬ 
time clandestine operations to George Kennan, according to a later 
Senate investigation of U.S. foreign intelligence activities. (Control 
of espionage and counterintelligence, however, remained outside 
the diplomat’s purview.) Key members of Kennan’s Policy Planning 
Staff—officially a somewhat egg-headed institution dedicated to 
planning U.S. strategy for ten or twenty years in the future—were 
detailed to help him with this task. 

Two forces, then, converged to thrust the covert operations 
weapon into Kennan’s hands. First, there was President Truman’s 
desire—strongly backed up by Secretary of Defense Forrestal—to 
make use of this powerful tool in what appeared to be a deteriorat¬ 
ing situation in Europe. Secondly, there was the determination, 
especially by Secretary of State Marshall as well as by Kennan 
himself, to make sure that no one else in the U.S. government 
seized political control of this prize before the State Department 
did. 

A new stage in the American effort to use ex-Nazis began. The 
early “tactical” or short-term utilization of former Fascists and col¬ 
laborators—techniques somewhat akin to the exploitation of prison¬ 
ers of war by intelligence agents—gradually came to an end. Ameri¬ 
can agencies and policymakers replaced the tactical approach with 
a deeper “strategic” appreciation of the usefulness that emigre 
groups might have in large-scale clandestine operations against the 
USSR. The U.S. government increasingly accepted the exiles’ or¬ 
ganizations as legitimate and began to pour substantial amounts of 
money into them—at least $5 million in 1948 alone, and probably 
considerably more. 

The spring and summer of 1948 were a period of extraordinary 



98 BLOWBACK 


activity in U.S. national security circles. The East-West conflict over 
administration of occupied Germany finally pushed past the break¬ 
ing point. The collapse of the Czech government in February, the 
spring war scare, spy scandals at home, and setbacks for Chiang 
Kai-shek’s Chinese nationalists at the hands of Mao Zedong’s Peo¬ 
ple’s Liberation Army accelerated the deterioration of U.S.-Soviet 
relations. By June a relatively minor dispute over German currency 
reform had prompted the Soviets to shut off Western access to 
Berlin, and this in turn precipitated the Berlin airlift. There was a 
real possibility that any further escalation—especially a major mili¬ 
tary mobilization by either side—could lead to all-out war. 

The strategic thinking behind the United States tactics during 
this period is best summarized in a top secret National Security 
Council directive and a group of supporting policy papers which 
are known collectively as NSC 20. These documents, which were 
drawn up primarily by Kennan and his Policy Planning Staff (PPS), 
were formally adopted by Truman’s NSC in August 1948. 2 They 
deserve quotation at some length because they provided the basic 
policy framework for U.S. clandestine operations against the Sovi¬ 
ets, including the use of former Nazi collaborators, for the remain¬ 
der of Truman’s term. 

Kennan sought, as the preamble of his policy statement states, “to 
define our present peacetime objectives and our hypothetical war¬ 
time objectives with relation to Russia, and to reduce as far as 
possible the gap between them.” The objectives, he writes, were 
really only two: 


a. To reduce the power and influence of Moscow. ... b. To bring about 
a basic change in the theory and practice of international relations 
observed by the government in power in Russia. 

Adoption of these concepts in Moscow [however] would be equiva¬ 
lent to saying that it was our objective to overthrow Soviet power. 
Proceeding from that point, it could be argued that this is in turn an 
objective unrealizable by means short of war, and that we are therefore 
adm itting that our objective with resp ect to the Soviet UnToiMs^e ventup" 
war and t he violen t overtKrow~or^oviet power. 


But actual warfare is not what he had in mind. The idea, rather, 
was to encourage every split and crisis inside the USSR and the 
Soviet camp that could lead to the collapse of the USSR from within, 
while at the same time maintaining an official stance of noninter- 



Bloodstone 99 


vention in Soviet internal affairs. “It is not our peacetime aim to 
overthrow the Soviet Government/’ NSC 20 continued. “Admit¬ 
tedly, we are aiming at the creation of circumstances and situations 
which would be difficult for the present Soviet leaders to stomach, 
and which they would not like. It is possible that they might not be 
able, in the face of these circumstances and situations, to retain 
their power in Russia. But it must be reiterated: that is their busi¬ 
ness, not ours. . . /’ 

Anti-Communist exile organizations are cited as one of the pri¬ 
mary vehicles for the creation of the desired domestic crisis. “At the 
present time,” Kennan continues, “there are a number of interest¬ 
ing and powerful Russian political groupings among the Russian 
exiles . , . any of which would probably be preferable to the Soviet 
Government, from our standpoint, as rulers of Russia.” At the same 
time it is decided that both the Soviet internal problems and the 
official “hands-off” posture that the United States desires could be 
more effectively achieved by promoting all the exile organizations 
more or less equally rather than by sponsoring only one favored 
group. “We must make a determined effort to avoid taking respon¬ 
sibility for deciding who would rule Russia in the wake of a disinte¬ 
gration of the Soviet regime. Our best course would be to permit 
all of the exiled elements to return to Russia as rapidly as possible 
and to see to it, in so far as this depends on us, that they are all given 
roughly equal opportunity to establish their bids for power. . . .” 3 

The policy framework for clandestine operations involving exiles 
from the USSR, in short, was to encourage each of them to attempt 
to seize power in his or her homeland but to attempt to decline 
responsibility for having done so. Most interesting in the present 
context, no distinctions were to be made in the extension of aid to 
the various exile groups. The practical implication of this decision 
in the world of 1948 is clear: The United States would indeed 
support the veterans of the Vlasov Army, the eastern SS collabora¬ 
tors, and other groups that had permitted themselves to become 
pawns of Berlin during the war. 

The State Department began the first known major clandestine 
effort recruiting Soviet emigres at the same time its drafts of NSC 
20 were working their way through the policy process. This project 
was known as Operation Bloodstone, and it became one of the 
department’s most important covert projects from 1948 until ap¬ 
proximately 1950, when it was superseded by similar programs 
under direct CIA sponsorship. 





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|| Bloodstone proved to be an open door through which scores of 
llj leaders of Nazi collaborationist organizations thought to be useful 
ijl for political warfare in Eastern Europe entered the United States. 
The project’s usual cover, even in top secret correspondence, was 
an innocuous effort to utilize “socialist, labor union, intellectual, 
moderate right-wing groups and others” for distribution of anti- 
Communist “handbills, publications, magazines or use of. . . radio” 
that was secretly financed by the U.S. government. 4 This all was 
true enough. 

But there was much more to Bloodstone than its cover story. In 
reality, many of Bloodstone’s recruits had once been Nazi collabora¬ 
tors who were now being brought to the United States for use as 
intelligence and covert operations experts. Some of them eventu¬ 
ally becam e U.& agent spott ers fo r_sabotage^and assassinationjnis- 
sionsTTKemen and women enlisted under Bloodstone^were not 
low-level thugs, concentration camp guards, or brutal hoodlums, at 
least not in the usual sense of those words. Quite the contrary, they 
were the cream of the Nazis and collaborators, the lead^ r^TTKe 
in telligence s pecialists, and the scholars who had put their skills to 
work for the Nazi cause. 

Bloodstone’s primary sponsors were a circle of political warfare 
specialists in the PPS and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of 
State for Occupied Areas, joined in this effort by Undersecretary of 
State (later Secretary of Defense) Robert Lovett. Frank Wisner 
spearheaded the lobbying effort in favor of Bloodstone inside the 
top-level U.S. interagency security committee known as SANACC* 
and the National Security Council. 5 ^ 0 

According to Wisner’s 1948 records of the affair, a< portion of 
which has now been declassified, the official object of the program 
was to “increase defection among the elite of the Soviet World and 
to utilize refugees from the Soviet World in the National interests 
of the U.S.” Anti-Communist experts including social scientists and 
propagandists were recruited to “fill the gaps in our current official 
intelligence, in public information and in politico-psychological op¬ 
erations,” the last of which is a euphemism for covert destabiliza¬ 
tion and propaganda operations. Wisner proposed that some 250 


*SANACC stands for “State, Army, Navy, Air Force Coordinating Committee.” As its name 
suggests, SANACC attempted to provide high-level coordination to U.S. security policies 
overseas, particularly in occupied Europe and Japan. SANACC was originally founded in 
1944 as SWNCC (“State, War, Navy Coordinating Committee”), then changed its name with 
the reorganization of the War Department in 1947. The NSC coexisted with SANACC from 
1947 through 1949, then eventually absorbed it. 



Bloodstone 101 


such experts be brought into the United States during the first 
phase of the operation; of them were to work f or the Depa rt- 
ipe nt of j tate, primarily'aF TEayeF s Voice^of^merica7 and5CTat 
each~af^the ^armed forces. 6 1 

In June of that year Wisner expanded on his theme. “There are 
native anti-Communist elements in non-Western hemisphere 
countries outside the Soviet orbit which have shown extreme forti¬ 
tude in the face of the Communist menace, and which have demon¬ 
strated the “know-how” to counter Communist propaganda and in 
techniques to obtain control of mass movements,” a Bloodstone 
briefing paper notes. However, “because of lack of funds, of mate¬ 
rial, and until recently, of a coordinated international movement, 
these natural antidotes to Communism have practically been im¬ 
mobilized.” The paper continues: 

Unvouchered funds in the amount of $5,000,000 should be made availa¬ 
ble by Congress for the fiscal year 1949 to a component of the National 
Military Establishment. Upon receipt, the component should immedi¬ 
ately transfer [the] funds to the Department of State . . . [which] should 
be responsible for the secret disbursement of these funds in view of the 
fact that the problem is essentially one of a political nature.... Disburse¬ 
ments should be handled in such a manner as to conceal the fact that 
their source is the U.S. government. 

The Bloodstone proposal was approved by SANACC, the special 
interagency intelligence coordinating committee, on June 10, 
1948. 7 

A month later the JCS approved a second, interlocking plan for 
the recruitment and training of guerrilla leaders from among Soviet 
emigre groups. This initiative was a slightly modified version of the 
revived Vlasov Army plan, which had originally been promoted by 
Kennan, Thayer and Franklin Lindsay,* who later worked with 
many of these same guerrillas on behalf of the CIA. In their report 
on this second proposal t he Joint Chie fs reveal that Bloodstone was 
part of a covert warfar e, s_abotage, amU assassination operation—not 
simply an innocuous leaflet distribution plan. According to the Pen¬ 
tagon records, the recruitment of foreign mercenaries for political 

*Lindsay had served during the war as OSS liaison to Tito’s guerrillas in Yugoslavia. He 
later became deputy chief of the Office for Policy Coordination in charge of behind-the-lines 
guerrilla actions in Eastern Europe between 1949 and 1951. He joined the Ford Foundation 
in 1953 and was named president of the Itek Corporation in 1962. In 1968 President-elect 
Nixon named Lindsay head of a secret task force on CIA reorganization. 



102 BLOWBACK 


murder missions was a specific part of Operation Bloodstone from 
the beginning. 

The real purpose of Bloodstone, the top secret JCS documents 
say, was the “extraction of favorably disposed foreigners for the 
purposes of special operations and other uses. . . . Special opera¬ 
tions,” the JCS writes, “comprise those activities against the enemy 
which are conducted by allied or friendly forces behind enemy 
lines. . . . [They] include psychological warfare (black), clandestine 
warfare, subversion, sabotage and miscellaneous operations such as 
assassination, target capture and rescue of downed airmen.” 8 

In September 1948 a new Joint Chiefs order amplified the plan. 
“A psychological offensive to subvert the Red Army is considered 
a primary objective,” it states. “This type of offensive, as attempted 
by the German Army in World War II, was known as the ‘Vlasov 
Movement.’ It resulted in a resistance movement of approximately 
one million people.” This new order went on to make a country-by- 
country survey of the prospects for special operations and appears 
to link the Gehlen Organization to the plan implicitly. The survey 
ranks Poland and Lithuania as “excellent prospects” with dissident 
groups already well established. Hungary and Romania were rated 
“unpromising . . . [but] with German help and leadership, limited 
results for underground operations might be expected.” 9 

The National Security Council had delivered President Truman’s 
official go-ahead for the special operations segment of Bloodstone 
and other U.S. covert warfare plans in a June 1948 decision known 
in national security parlance as NSC 10/2 (“NSC ten-slash-two”). 
The decision marked a crucial turning point in the history of U.S. 
intelligence, in the cold war, and, indeed, in the entire U.S.-Soviet 
relationship. It dealt with the types of clandestine operations the 
U.S. government was willing to undertake and how they were to be 
administered. 

Through NSC 10/2, the National Security Council authorized a 
program of clandestine “propaganda, economic warfare, preventa¬ 
tive direct action including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and 
evacuation measures,” according to the top secret text. It went on 
to call for “subversion against hostile states, including assistance to 
underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee libera¬ 
tion groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in 
threatened countries of the free world.” All this was to be carried 
out in such a way that “any U.S. government responsibility for them 
is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if [they are] uncov- 



Bloodstone 103 


ered the U.S. government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility 
for them.” No longer would the CIA and other spy agencies be 
l imited primarilyTo ^gatheririg and processing information a lSout~ 
foj-eigr L riyals._ The administrative hobbles that had limited U.S. 
covert activities since the end of World War II were about to come 
off . 10 


A new Office of Special Projects (soon to be renamed Office for 
Policy Coordination, or OPC) was created within the Central Intel¬ 
ligence Agency to “plan and conduct” these operations. Secretary 
of State Marshall gave Kennan the job of selecting OPC’s chief, and 
the man Kennan chose was Frank Wisner, the intense, dynamic 
OSS veteran who had helped engineer the Bloodstone project. 11 

The creation of OPC as a specialized clandestine warfare and 
propaganda agency “was a very natural development,” John Paton 
Davies, one of Kennan’s top aides in State at the time, commented 
in an interview years later. “During the war we had used these 
techniques against the Nazis. Aftei^-th e w ar, a nnmherj rff [IJ .S.] ^ 
military operato rs had come ov er to the civilian" side JTe^to th e CIA ^ 
and S tate DepartmentJTTtncTwe became interestedTnTusmg^these 
techniques to counter Soviet attacks. The job couldn’t be done 
using formal warfare. . . . We had the problem of the Communist- 
led labor unions in France, for example. The AFL [American Fed¬ 
eration of Labor] was working with their people, trying to combat 
this large subversive force in France. We couldn’t just send in the 
Eighty-second Airborne, you know, [to help them], nor could we do 
it with diplomatic means. So we did what worked at the time.” 
According to Davies, “the backing for it [clandestine operations] 
existed in [Kennan’s] Policy Planning Staff . . . [and] there wasjio^, 
opp osition within th e govern menU t hat I can recall. ” 1 * 8 

Norwas there any~known resistance outside the government 
either. This is for the simple reason that the NSC 10/2 decision was 
shrouded in such secrecy that only a tiny group of men and women 
at the most senior levels of the emerging national security complex 
even knew that this form of war had been declared. Indeed, had it \ 
not been for the congressional investigations into U.S. intelligence \ 
practices that followed the Watergate affair almost thirty years 
later, the very existence of this decision would still be secret. / 
While NSC 10/2 authorized a significant expansion of U.S. covert 
warfare operations, it simultaneously attempted to do something 
else as well: to control U.S. subversion operations overseas by insti¬ 
tutionalizing them and subjecting them to central civilian author- 



104 BLOWBACK 


ity. This type of coordination, which tended to benefit the Depart¬ 
ment of State, had been an important aspect of the reorganization 
of the Pentagon, the creation of the NSC and the CIA in 1947, and 
most other “national security” reforms of the period. 

Secretary of State Marshall gave George Kennan responsibility 
for policy guidance of the entire NSC 10/2 effort. According to a 
s till-secret in ternal history of the CIA,_fragments of whi ch_werc^ 
publis^d~b>^ffie^lJ . S. TIongrelsTrTlj^ at the 

time the OPC was created that he had to have “specific knowledge 
of the objectives of every operation and also of the procedure and 
methods employed in all cases where those procedures and meth¬ 
ods involved political decisions.” Kennan would, he said, “assume 
responsibility for stating whether or not individual projects are 
politically desirable.” This broad grant of authority was directly 
endorsed by CIA Director Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillen koetter and 
NSC Executive Director Sidney Souers., 

During the months that followed NSC 10/2, subordinate opera¬ 
tional responsibility for Bloodstone was divided up among State 
Department intelligence (then headed by W. Park Armstrong*), 
the military services, and Frank Wisner’s new team. Wisner’s OPC 
was given responsibility for “politico-psychological” operations as 
well as for preparing two policy statements on utilization of re¬ 
fugees from the Soviet bloc. The State Department, on the other 
hand, continued to lay claim to jurisdiction over recruitment of 
emigres for use at the Voice of America and in intelligence analysis 
programs, as distinguished from the secret propaganda and covert 
warfare missions run by Wisner. 14 

Once 10/2 had been approved, the Bloodstone team at the State 
Department moved quickly to enlist the support of a handful of 
powerful senat ors and representatives^ jn^w hat^ ppears^to^Haye^ 
Been a c onscious evasion of immi grat ion law . Undersecretary of 
StatTTLovett ordered Charles Bohlen, then chief counselor of the 
Department of State, to meet secretly with i nfluential congr e ssio- 
o that, as Lovett’s aide Charles Saltzman noted, “when 
le undesirable alien brought in under these programs 
appears in the U.S., Congress will have been forewarned and undue 

*W. Park Armstrong, one of the most powerful and least known figures in the U.S. intelli¬ 
gence community of the period, claimed in an interview with the author that he had “no 
recollection” and had “never heard” of Bloodstone or of any other effort to import Nazi 
collaborators into the United States for intelligence purposes. However, memos discussing 
the division of assignments under Bloodstone that were drafted and signed by Armstrong 
are now a matter of public record. 


nal leaders s< 
theTnevitaB 


Bloodstone 105 

criticism of the Departments of State and Justice should be thereby 
minimized/’ 

According to Bohlen’s notes, Leslie Biffle (the secretary of the 
Senate and executive director of the Democratic Party Policy Com¬ 
mittee), Texas C ongressman Sam Raybu rn (later to be speaker of 
the House), New Jersey Representative Charles Eaton (chair of the 
House Foreign Affairs Committee), Senate Minority Leader Alben 
Barkley (later to be Truman’s vice president), and Republican for- 
elgrTaffairs expert S enator H, Alexander Sm ith of New Jersey were 
approached with tffeproposal during July and August 1948. Arthur 
Vandenberg, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 
was apparently consulted later. “In each case,” Bohlen noted, the 
senator or congressman said he thought the project seemed “sensi¬ 
ble.” Rayburn underlined the conspiratorial atmosphere of the en¬ 
counter. “Congressman Rayburn was particularly insistent,” ac¬ 
cording to Bohlen, “that the members of Congress who had been 
inclined to make difficulties should this project become public were 
not those with whom it could be discussed in confidence with any 
assurance that it would be kept confidential.” 15 

Kennan was later to testify before Congress that the entire NSC 
10/2 effort, of which Bloodstone was but one part, was very limited 
in scope. “We had thought that this would be a facility which could 
be used when and if the occasion arose, when it might be needed,” 
he said in 1975 congressional hearings 16 on the origins of U.S. covert 
operations. “There might be years when we wouldn’t have to do 
anything like this.” 

But Kennan’s comments in those latter-day hearings were some¬ 
thing of an understatement. In fact, the Bloodstone record makes 
clear that the OPC and its associated emigre projects were actually 
majorj>r ejects with multimilIioi> donar_budg ets from the begin ; 
jungTBut nTTmatter; Kennan was surelytelling thetruth as he 
perceived it. He had only wanted, he declared in his testimony, 
someone in the government who had the funds and the experience 
to do things “in a proper way ... if an occasion arose.” 

Kennan’s anticommunism was far more sophisticated than that of 
many of his colleagues, and he wanted to use clandestine warfare 
techniques carefully. He viewed as unrealistic and dangerous de¬ 
mands for a quick “liberation” of Eastern Europe from Soviet influ¬ 
ence, which were beginning to make themselves heard from the 
political right. Kennan had long been.sujyaicious of popular par tic h, 
pation in the formulation of foreign policyTandlieconsidered the 



106 BLOWBACK 


U.S. Congress, for example, too mercurial, too ill informed, and too 
much subject to domestic pressures to serve the country well when 
it came to foreign affairs. These attitudes made him aware of the 
dangerous impact that yahoo-style reaction was beginning to have 
on American policy overseas. “I personally look with some dismay 
and concern at many of the things we are now experiencing in our 
public life,” Kennan had written in the spring of 1947. 17 “In partic¬ 
ular I deplore the hysterical sort of anti-Communism which, it 
seems to me, is gaining currency in our country.” 

Whatever the reason, Kennan made common cause in those 
years with other men who were soon to commandeer the work he 
had begun and take it places the diplomat apparently never ex¬ 
pected. NSC 10/2 f ailed to bring covert o per ations under close 
ci vilian co n trol . Instead, the^clandestine service metastasizei 
through the government at aiyj3xtmord.inar\^rate^Regardless of 
wHaFkennan may have intended, as NSC 10/2, NSC 20, and other 
programs he had helped design became institutionalized, they 
transformed themselves into an unrelentinglyh ostile effort to “mil- 
back commu nism” in Eastem^urope, ah^ffort that eventually 
consumed jnillion s_ oL dollars, thousands_o£ lives, and considerable 
^^^uat ional prestige. As the political temperature between the super¬ 
powers inevitaSly got more frigid, t he forces that Kennan had once 
^ ri dden toj a ower ov er whelme dJhn£and his program.^By 1950 his 
\j erstwhile allies in secreTwork—men like ^JlerTand John Foster 
\ Dulles, Paul Nitze, and Arthur Bliss Lane—were grasping for more 
JJp\ power and depreciating Kennan’s policies for being “soft on com- 
/j munism.” 

f In the end, Kennan testified many years later, “it did not work 
out at all the way I had conceived it.” 18 



CHAPTER NINE 


“See That He Is Sent to the 
U.S. . . ” 


The men and women who created and administered Operation^ 
Bloodstone for the U.S. government had no sympathy for nazism as 
such, nor any desire to protect Nazis and collaborators in general 
from prosecution. They brought Bloodstone recruits into this coun¬ 
try for three specific and sensitive purposes. First, there was the 
collection and analysis of intelligence on the USSR and its Eastern 
European satellites that the program’s backers claimed were una¬ 
vailable from any other source. Secondly, Bloodstone recruits 
trained U.S. intelligence, propaganda, and covert warfare special¬ 
ists. And finally, some Bloodstone leaders were used for recruiting 
other emigres for large-scale clandestine warfare, including sabo¬ 
tage and assassination missions. 

By 1948, when the program began, the U.S. officials responsible 
for the approval and administration of Bloodstone were already 
senior, trusted officials with top security clearances. The names of 
more than three dozen of these officials are today found in a slender 
file of declassified Bloodstone records. They include Tom_Clark, for 
example, the attorney general of the United States, wlio authorized 
the program on behalf of the Department of Justice; W. Park^Arm- 
strong, the director of the State Department’s Office of Intelligence 
ancJTlesearch; and Joh n S. E arman, Jr., the CIA observer on the 
Bloodstone team who later becamelnspector general of the agency. 


107 




108 BLOWBACK 


Another notable Bloodstone veteran is Boris Pash, a career intelli¬ 
gence officer identified in the Final Report of the U.S. Senate’s 
1975-1976 investigation into U.S. intelligence activities as the 
retired director of the CIA unit responsible for planning assassina¬ 
tions. 

Also found in the Bloodstone record are the names of more than 
twenty senior State Department officials concerned with Soviet or 
Eastern European affairs. This select crew went on to become the 
top officials in virtually every phase of U.S.-Soviet relations during 
the 1940s and 1950s and included, for example, three future U.S. 
ambassadors to Moscow; a director of the Voice of America; a direc¬ 
tor of Radio Free Europe; and two future directors of the State 
Department Intelligence section specializing in East bloc affairs. 1 
In a very real sense, the men and women who engineered Blood¬ 
stone were the same ones who designed U.S. cold war strategy for 
every administration from 1945 to 1 963. " 

" -_ TKe"dfficials who handledThe day-to-day mechanics of the pro¬ 
gram are also of interest. John P. Boyd was the deputy commis¬ 
sioner, the number two man, at the Immigration and Naturaliza¬ 
tion Service in 1948. He was appointed to represent the 
Department of Justice on the Bloodstone team (then known as the 
SANACC 395 Committee) on April 15,1948, and was named chair¬ 
man of the entire effort two months later. He signed the Justice 
Department’s formal approval for the project and asserted that the 
“Attorney General himself’ had reviewed and approved the pro¬ 
gram. The Justice Department’s approval was subject to only one 
proviso: that the recruits be “brought in under the Displaced Per¬ 
sons Act, if practicable.” 2 

The phrase is significant, and it appears several times in Justice 
Department correspondence concerning Bloodstone. Under the 
Displaced Persons Act, there are two main categories of persons 
barred from entry into the United States. The first category is “war 
criminals, quislings and traitors . . . [including] persons who can be 
shown to have assisted the enemy in persecuting civil populations 
... [or who] have voluntarily assisted the enemy forces since the 
outbreak of the second world war,” and the second is “ordinary 
criminals who are extraditable by treaty.” True, the act did set 
limits (“quotas”) on the numbers of immigrants from each country, 
but it also permitted the federal government to move special immi¬ 
grants to the head of the entry list, so that favored immigrants need 
not be excluded from entering under it for quota reasons. In short, 



‘See That He Is Sent to the U.S. . . . 


109 


the only ones not “practicable” to be brought in under the Dis¬ 
placed Persons Act were Nazis and Nazi collaborators, on the one 
hand, and common criminals, on the other. 3 

It is worth noting that Communists were not barred from entry 
into the United States under the Displaced Persons Act until 
amendments were passed by the Congress in June 1950, after the 
period that Boyd spent as head of the Bloodstone project. In any 
event, it is clear that few of the Bloodstone recruits had ever been 
Communists. Some of them, however, should have been excluded 
under the laws then on the books, as fugitives from charges of 
crimes against humanity. 

The actual issuance of visas for Bloodstone recruits was handled 
by Robert C. Alexander, then second-in-command of the State De¬ 
partment Visa Division. Alexander was appointed the State Depart¬ 
ment representative to the interagency Bloodstone committee as 
the project moved into its implementation stage in June 1948.* 4 

Many of the crucial intelligence analysis aspects of Bloodstone, 
however, were handled by another man: Evron M. Kirkpatrick, 
then chieff of the State Department’s External Research Staff, a 


* Alexander’s highly publicized activities during 1948 are another indication that Blood¬ 
stone was geared to bring in Nazi collaborators, not Communists. In July of that year Alexan¬ 
der defied Secretary of State Marshall by testifying in Congress that “Communist agents” 
were entering the United States under cover of United Nations agencies. The United Nations 
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration “was the greatest offender,” he said, adding that 
some of the Communists had been trained as spies and terrorists. Alexander’s testimony, in 
short, stressed the need to keep Communists, former Communists, and anyone who might 
be sympathetic to them out of the country at all costs. 

Secretary Marshall was concerned that conservatives in Congress would use the “UN spy” 
testimony, as it came to be known, to derail a $65 million U.S. loan to the United Nations 
that was being strongly backed by the administration. The secretary rejected Alexander’s 
charges, and a variety of follow-up studies concluded that Alexander’s “irresponsible state¬ 
ments produced serious repercussions on the foreign policy of the United States.” 

Alexander was eventually appointed deputy administrator for all U.S. refugee programs 
under the Refugee Relief Act. He publicly recommended that the “free nations of the world 
. . . undertake a concerted effort to solve the refugee problem” by organizing military 
retaliation against governments—particularly Communist ones—that were producing too 
many refugees. In the meantime, he cautioned, accepting more exiles from socialist coun¬ 
tries “even for humanitarian reasons” only “drainjed] off the properly discordant and recalci¬ 
trant elements” of their populations, thus propping up Soviet rule. 

{Kirkpatrick is today an irrepressibly cheerful man with a comfortable girth and a goatee 
that makes him resemble, of all people, an aging Leon Trotsky. He is also husband toTe ane, 
Kirkpatric k, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Reagan adminis¬ 
tration. Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick s hare ownership in Operations and Policy Research, Inc. 
(also known as OPR .Ina), which haTbenefited over the years from government co ntrac ts 
for st udies jn ^psychelogi^al^warfare, defens e"po licy, and poIiU ^Tbehavior . Critics have 
alleged that the company serveffTsTfunding conduit between U.S. inte lligence agencies and 
promising scholars. 




110 BLOWBACK 


special team of scholars operating under the auspices of the Office 
of Intelligence and Research. 

Kirkpatrick had come up with the idea for systematic use of 
scholarly defectors based on his wartime experience in the OSS. 
“The [State] Department and foreign policy in general did not 
make as much use as they should have of scholars and foundations 
on the outside,” Kirkpatrick remembered during an interview with 
the author. “So we [the External Research Staff] would pull in two 
or three people at a time for discussions for the benefit of Depart¬ 
ment of State and other foreign policy organizations such as De¬ 
fense, intelligence, et cetera.” Emigre scholars and former Eastern 
European political leaders were hired as consultants or given fund¬ 
ing for study of U.S. foreign policy objectives. 

According to Kirkpatrick’s former assistant and longtime col¬ 
league Howard Penniman, “my job was to find out what the agen¬ 
cies wanted in the way of information. Then I would retail that to 
[Frederick] Barghoorn and [Francis] Stevens,” who worked for the 
External Research Staff at the time. They, in turn, would comb the 
displaced persons camps for emigres who might be able to answer 
sensitive questions about the USSR and Eastern Europe. “During 
1948, ’49, and ’50 there were some interesting people coming out 
of the USSR and Eastern Europe. We were responsible for two 
things as far as they were concerned,” according to Kirkpatrick. 
“Number one, to learn as much as we could. Number two, to find 
them places, find them jobs at universities.” Kirkpatrick mentioned 
Nikolai N. Poppe in particular as one such scholar whom he assisted 
in placing. 

It is difficult to determine today just what Kirkpatrick did or 
didn’t know about the defectors and emigres placed under his care 
in the early days. “I don’t think I had any cases of those who had 
cooperated with the Germans,” he commented in an interview. 
“But of course, you always heard about that. After all, you even had 
Jews that cooperated with the Nazis.” 

Kirkpatrick’s recollection of the Poppe case is intriguing. As he 
remembered it, Poppe was the “Soviets’ head of intelligence for the 
whole Asiatic USSR” before he came to the United States, and he 
had supposedly defected directly from the USSR to the United 
States. In reality, however, Poppe had been one of the Nazis' senior 
intelligence analysts “for the whole Asiatic USSR,” and he had 
spent considerable time working for them in Berlin before striking 
a deal with the Americans. 5 



Ill 


“See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 

Who, then, entered the United States under Operation Blood¬ 
stone? Which specific Nazis or Nazi collaborators? And where are 
they today? 

The Immigration and Naturalization Service was ordered to keep 
detailed monthly reports on each person brought to the United 
States under the program. Unfortunately the agency claims it is 
unable to locate those records, thus making it impossible, at least 
for the moment, to construct a comprehensive list of persons with 
Nazi or Nazi collaborationist backgrounds who were brought to the 
United States under Bloodstone. 

But just as it is sometimes possible to assemble a jigsaw puzzle 
despite a missing piece, so it is possible to discover a number of 
Bloodstone’s recruits from other government documentation with¬ 
out an official list of their names. A careful examination of the 
surviving file of Bloodstone records makes it clear that candidates 
for the program had to meet at least five restrictive criteria that set 
them apart from the thousands of other refugees who entered the 
United States following World War II. With those criteria as a guide, 
it is possible to uncover a number of high-level Nazi collaborators, 
including some responsible for serious crimes against humanity, 
who entered the United States under Bloodstone. The criteria used 
to identify Bloodstone recruits in the pages that follow may be 
summarized as follows: 

First, the recruits had to be leaders of anti-Communist organiza¬ 
tions or scholars (especially linguists and social scientists), or skilled 
propagandists. 

Second, they had to have specialized or unique knowledge about 
the Soviet bloc or skills as an organizer of refugees from countries 
in the bloc. 

Third, they had to have entered the United States between June 
1948, when the program was approved, and mid-1950, when 
changes in U.S. immigration law superseded the effort. 

Fourth, they had to have actively cooperated with, or been em¬ 
ployed by, U.S. intelligence agencies or the Department of State, 
particularly in programs such as Radio Free Europe, the Defense 
Language School a UMonte .rev^ California, or the recruitment of 
emigres for covertwarfare operations. 

Fifth—and very important—they had to have enjoyed a direct 
and documented intervention on their behalf during the immigra¬ 
tion process by the political warfare specialists at the State Depart¬ 
ment who were in charge of the Bloodstone program. 6 




112 BLOWBACK 


It was not necessary that every person brought in under Blood¬ 
stone be a former Nazi or Nazi collaborator. Indeed, there is every 
reason to believe that the cover story of importing “socialist, labor 
union, intellectual, moderate right-wing groups and others” was, 
like most cover stories, at least partially true. Bloodstone’s ability to 
circumvent U.S. immigration law, however, appears to have only 
one reasonable explanation: to permit immigration of former Nazis 
and Nazi collaborators who would otherwise be barred by the Dis¬ 
placed Persons Act. 

The German diplomat Gustav Hilger was only one of many 
Bloodstone beneficiaries, but he deserves special mention here be¬ 
cause of his close friendship with the Americans from the old Mos¬ 
cow embassy circle and the influential (but until now secret) role he 
played in formulation of U.S. foreign policy toward Germany and 
the Soviets in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 

During the war Hilger had gone directly from the German Em¬ 
bassy in Moscow to service in the personal secretariate of Nazi 
Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, becoming the chief po¬ 
litical officer for eastern front questions in the German Foreign 
Ministry. There Hilger led the Russland Gremium, a group of senior 
experts on Soviet affairs. Hilger, it is true, had initially opposed the 
German invasion of the USSR in 1941 and had mentioned this to 
Hitler during a private conference on the eve of the blitzkrieg. 
Hilger’s advice was rejected, however, and he continued to serve 
the Reich dutifully throughout the war. 

Among his duties at the Nazi Foreign Office was liaison with the 
SS concerning the Nazi occupation of the USSR, a job which in¬ 
cluded the processing of SS Einsatzgrnppen reports on the mobile 
killing operations in the East. The following is a translated excerpt 
from one such SS report that was entered into evidence at Nurem¬ 
berg. The processing marks on the cover letter of this document 
indicate that it crossed Hilger’s desk in April 1942. Similar bulletins 
followed throughout the war. 

OPERATIONAL SITUATION REPORT USSR NO. 11 
TOP SECRET 

C. JEWS 

In Riga, among others, three Jews who had been transferred from the 
Reich to the ghetto and who had escaped were recaptured and publicly 
hanged in the ghetto. 



‘See That He Is Sent to the U.S. . . . 


113 


In the course of the greater action against Jews, 3,412 Jews were shot 
in Minsk, 302 in Vileika and 2,007 in Baranovichi. . . . 

Besides the measures taken against individual Jews operating in a 
criminal or political manner, the tasks of the security police and the SD 
in the other areas of the Eastern Front consisted in a general purging 
of larger localities. Alone in Rakov, e.g., 15,000 Jews were shot, and 1224 
in Artenovsk, so that these places are now free of Jews. 

In the Crimea 1,000 Jews and gypsies were executed. 7 


Clearly, these SS communiques left no question about the scale 
of the Holocaust that was taking place on the eastern front, yet 
Hilger took no action to protest or to remove himself from the 
bureaucratic machinery of destruction in which he found himself 
entangled. The diplomat had a small, but direct, role in the murder 
programs in Hungary. There he helped coordinate the Foreign 
Office’s successful efforts to obtain sanctuary in Germany for several 
Hungarian army officers responsible for the 1942 murder of 6,000 
Serbs and 4,000 Jews. Asylum for the Hungarian killers had been 
decreed by Hitler himself as a message to every Axis country that 
Germany would protect those who carried out anti-Semitic mur¬ 
ders on behalf of the Reich. 8 

Finally, Hilger played a significant part in SS efforts to capture 
and exterminate Italian Jews. The Nazis had considerable difficulty 
deporting Italian Jews to the death camps throughout the war, 
largely because Italy’s early status as a full Axis partner somewhat 
restricted the power of the Nazis in that country. In December 
1943, however, Hilger led the German Foreign Office’s effort to 
convince the Italian government to force that country’s Jewish 
community into work camps, on the condition that no further mea¬ 
sures would be taken against Italy’s Jews. The Italian government 
cooperated with Hilger’s work camp plan, and many Jews were 
driven into barracks during the winter of 1943-1944. In reality, 
however, the Nazis had planned all along to deport to the extermi¬ 
nation centers in the East any Italian Jews who entered these camps 
regardless of what the Italians tried to say about it, and during the 
spring of 1944 several trainloads of these Jews were shipped to 
Auschwitz. 9 The exact number of victims of this joint Foreign 
Office-SS program in Italy is unknown, but it certainly totals several 
thousand innocent people. 

Hilger was also a central figure in the German political warfare 




114 BLOWBACK 


faction. The Nazi Foreign Office assigned him to be its chief liaison 
with Vlasov within a few days of the Russian general’s surrender in 
1942, and Hilger participated in the various psychological warfare 
and intelligence schemes that swirled around the Vlasov headquar¬ 
ters throughout the war. By 1944 Hilger had completely integrated 
himself into the command structure of the Vlasov group. 10 

After the war Hilger was officially being sought by U.S. war 
crimes investigators for “Torture” (as his wanted notice reads), 11 a 
catchall charge sometimes used for people sought in connection 
with the administration of crimes against humanity, as distinct from 
the actual murders themselves. Officially Hilger remained a fugi¬ 
tive from these charges until the day he died. 

Hilger’s work in Germany's political warfare program, along with 
his great expertise in Soviet affairs, won him asylum in the United 
States after the war. He surrendered to U.S. forces in May 1945 and 
was briefly interned in the Mannheim POW camp. Charles Thayer, 
apparently acting on a tip from Hans Heinrich Herwarth, inter¬ 
vened on Hilger’s behalf, and the Americans quietly shipped the 
former diplomatic official to Washington, D.C., for debriefing at 
Fort Hunt (as Gehlen had been) and for secret employment as a 
high-level analyst of captured German records on the USSR. Hilger 
resurfaced briefly in the spring of 1946, when former Nazi Foreign 
Minister von Ribbentrop, then on trial for his life at Nuremberg, 
called on him as a defense witness during the war crimes proceed¬ 
ings. After considerable wrangling, the United States conceded that 
Hilger was indeed in Washington but was “too ill to travel.” 12 

Hilger’s legal status at that point is foggy. He had technically 
been a prisoner of war since his surrender in May 1945, but his 
wanted notice on the war crimes charge remained on the books as 
an open case. It is certain, however, that he was never actually 
arrested on the war crimes charges, nor was he forced to face a trial 
for his wartime activities. 

For the next several years Hilger shuttled back and forth be¬ 
tween the United States and Germany under the sponsorship of the 
U.S. State Department, and he is known to have been in Berlin 
during the spring crisis of 1948. As the East-West tension that led 
to the famous Berlin airlift heated up during the summer and fall 
of that year, the State Department was faced with the tricky prob¬ 
lem of evacuating a number of ex-Nazis and collaborators, includ¬ 
ing fugitives such as Hilger, who were working under U.S. sponsor¬ 
ship in Germany at the time. 



‘See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 


115 


91 


George Kennan intervened with the U.S. political adviser in Ger¬ 
many, Robert Murphy, on Hilger’s behalf in late September 1948. 
In a series of telegrams marked “Personal for Kennan” and carrying 
Kennan’s hand-scrawled initials, Murphy’s and Kennan’s deputies 
proceeded to argue over the best method to bring Hilger into the 
United States. Murphy noted that the army intelligence men in 
Germany wanted “visas for five persons [Hilger and his family] and 
travel arrangements . . . made under assumed names”—an appar¬ 
ent violation of U.S. law.* State Department headquarters favored 
bringing him in under his real name aboard a U.S. military aircraft, 
then providing him later with a false identity if necessary. That was 
the alternative backed by Kennan, and it was eventually imple¬ 
mented. 13 It is worth noting that the arrangements for Hilger were 
handled directly by Kennan’s Policy Planning StafiF,f while the Visa 
Division, which is ordinarily responsible for issuing entry docu¬ 
ments to the United States, was provided with only vague verbal 
reports. All of Hilger’s travel expenses were paid by the U.S. gov¬ 
ernment. 

Hilger soon became an unofficial ambassador to the United States 
from Konrad Adenauer’s Christian Democratic party in West Ger¬ 
many. “Hilger was negotiating with the U.S. government and was 
instrumental in the creation of the Adenauer regime,” says Nikolai 
Poppe, a Bloodstone recruit with whom Hilger worked in Washing¬ 
ton. “In the very beginning, when Adenauer wished to become 
head [of the new Federal Republic of Germany], some American 
officials did not regard him as suitable. . . . But Adenauer was 
eventually permitted to form a government in 1949. This was due 
in part to Hilger’s contacts with the U.S. State Department. Hilger 
had great influence there.” 14 Of course, Poppe is overstating the 

*A special Bloodstone subcommittee had, in fact, been created to supply false identities, 
government cover jobs, and secret police protection to selected Bloodstone immigrants 
because “the activities in which some of the aliens concerned are to be engaged may result 
in jeopardizing their safety from foreign agents [inside] the United States.” 

fThe PPS was simultaneously engaged in a second project employing Nazi collaborators 
through a U.S.-financed “think tank” named the Eurasian Institute. According to declassified 
State Department records bearing George Kennan’s handwritten initials, the Eurasian Insti¬ 
tute enlisted such men as Saldh Ulus, who was described in U.S. cables as an “important 
member of [the] German espionage network in Central Asia from 1931 to 1945,” and 
Mehmet Sunsh, who was said to have been “employed by the German Propaganda Bureau 
[in] Istanbul 1942.” 

Eurasian Institute work was handled in large part by Bloodstone specialists John Paton 
Davies and Carmel Offie, according to declassified State Department records. Many of its 
recruits were eventually integrated into the Munich-based (and CIA-financed) Institute for 
the Study of the USSR during the early 1950s. 




116 


BLOWBACK 


case: U.S. government support for Adenauer was built upon the 
chancellor’s cooperation with U.S. strategic plans in West Ger¬ 
many, not simply on Hilger’s personal influence. Even so, Hilger 
did play a role in securing support for Adenauer among the Ameri¬ 
cans. 

Hilger met frequently in Washington, D.C., with Kennan and 
Bohlen, who were then considered the United States’ preeminent 
experts on U.S.-Soviet relations. Kennan personally intervened on 
Hilger’s behalf to obtain him a high-level security clearance, and he 
listened closely to Hilger’s advice before making recommendations 
on East-West policy to President Truman. In 1950, for example, 
Bohlen remembers that he, Hilger, and Kennan formed an analysis 
team specializing in interpretation of Soviet geopolitical strategy 
following the outbreak of the Korean War. The group was given 
access to highly classified information and reported directly to the 
Office of National Estimates, the country’s most senior intelligence 
evaluation group, which in turn reported directly to the director of 
Central Intelligence and to President Truman. Hilger, the former 
Nazi Foreign Office executive who had once made his reports to 
Hitler, emerged in Washington as a highly influential expert on the 
USSR. 15 

George Kennan has declined several requests for an interview, 
thus making it impossible to obtain his comments on the memos 
bearing his name and initials that discuss bringing Hilger into the 
United States. He did, however, write in 1982: “I do not recall 
seeing him [Gustav Hilger], or having any contact with him, in the 
period between the end of the war and his arrival in this country. 
I do not recall having had anything to do with, or any responsibility 
for, bringing him to this country; nor do I recall knowing, at the 
time, by what arrangements he was brought here.” He noted at that 
time, however, that he was “pleased that this had been done, con¬ 
sidering that his [Hilger’s] knowledge of Russia . . . would be useful 
to our government and public” and that without his being brought 
to this country there was a danger that he might have fallen into 
Soviet hands. Kennan also asserted that he had never seen any signs 
of Nazi sympathies on Hilger’s part. 16 

Kennan must have been aware that Gustav Hilger had been a 
senior member of the Nazi Foreign Office and an executive in 
Ribbentrop’s personal secretariat during the war. The knowledge 
gained through that work was, after all, one of the main reasons 
why Hilger was brought to Washington. Whether or not Kennan 



117 


“See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 

knew of Hilger’s role in the Holocaust in the USSR, Hungary, and 
Italy is unknown. It can be said with certainty, however, that the 
Nazi Foreign Office records documenting Hilger’s role in the mur¬ 
der of innocent people were in American hands in 1948 and that 
the tedious work of analyzing and cataloging that material was well 
under way. Had George Kennan, or any other member of the U.S. 
government of his stature, requested a dossier on Hilger’s wartime 
career, those records could have been readily located. There is no 
indication among the available evidence that Kennan or anyone 
else ever inquired into Hilger’s role in the Holocaust. It is clear, 
however, that Kennan, then one of the most powerful men in 
Washington, served as Hilger’s personal reference during army and 
State Department security clearance inquiries. 

The aura of respectability that surrounded Hilger seems to have 
deterred people who would have otherwise had a logical interest 
in his background. Alfred Meyer, an American expert on commu¬ 
nism who coauthored a book with Hilger during the early 1950s, for 
example, has recalled that he never asked the German whether or 
not he had ever been a Nazi party member. “It would have been 
an indiscreet question,” Meyer said during an interview with the 
author. “To have been a Nazi, well, after the war that would have 
been a stigma.” 

In fact, Hilger never was a member of the Nazi party. “He was 
somewhat of a coward politically,” as Meyer put it. “He didn’t want 
to stick his neck out.” U.S. Army intelligence reports of the period 
reflect a belief that Hilger was basically a conservative who had 
found it convenient to join, rather than resist, the Nazi juggernaut. 
“He was a weak man,” Meyer said. 

While in the United States, H flger enjnved “a g enerous grant,” 
according to Meyer, fr om the C ar negie Corporation . MosFdFhis 
work during this periocT revolved around the ^ Cen te x^ for Russ ian 
Research at Harvard Un iversity and a similar post at Joh ns Ho pkins 
University , which s erved^as^cwefT in effect, for hisTHA Offi ce of 
National Estimates consulting assignment. 17 

The only known protest to Hilger’s presence in the United States 
during the 1950s came from Dr. Raul Hilberg, who was at the time 
a young historian working on a top secret analysis of captured 
German wartime records code-named Project Alexander. Hilberg, 
who is today better known as the author of the internationally 
acclaimed history of the Holocaust The Destruction of the European 
Jews , objected when Hilger was invited to speak at the Federal 



118 BLOWBACK 


Records Center in Virginia, where Project Alexander was then 
under way. Hilberg told the project’s director that he would walk 
out in protest if the former Nazi diplomat was honored at the 
center, and shortly thereafter Hilger’s invitation to speak was qui¬ 
etly canceled. 

This incident did not become public, however, and Hilger re¬ 
mained in the United States until 1953, when he returned to Ger¬ 
many to become a senior adviser on foreign affairs to the Adenauer 
government. He retired in 1956 but continued to travel frequently 
between the United States and Europe. 

In 1962 journalist and Nazi hunter Charles Allen located Hilger 
at a residence the German diplomat continued to maintain in 
Washington, D.C. According to Allen, the seventy-six-year-old 
Hilger still enjoyed enough clout at the State Department to have 
it maintain a telephone contact service (“extension 11”) on his 
behalf. Allen has also convincingly documented the State Depart¬ 
ment’s consistent use of falsehoods to conceal its relationship with 
Hilger over the years. 18 The former member of the Nazi Foreign 
Office died in Munich on July 27, 1965. 

Hilger’s colleague Nikolai N. Poppe, a world-renowned scholar 
on Mongolia and the minority groups of the USSR, was also a Blood¬ 
stone recruit. Poppe’s life illustrates the complexity and moral am¬ 
biguity of the Bloodstone program and of the broader U.S. enlist¬ 
ment of emigres who had collaborated with the Nazis. Poppe is now 
ninety years old and living in comfortable retirement in Washing¬ 
ton State. 

Poppe defected to the Germans in August 1942, the day the 
Nazis arrived in Mikoyan-Shakhar, where he was teaching in the 
Pedagogical Institute. He actively collaborated in the creation of 
the quisling government in the Karachai minority region of the 
country. Among the first acts of that administration was expropria¬ 
tion of Jewish property, followed shortly by roundups and gassing 
of all the Jews who could be located in the area. Poppe also, accord¬ 
ing to his own account, assisted German military intelligence in 
identifying the rugged mountain passes through which German 
army and police troops could drive deeper into the country. 19 

After the war Poppe condemned the actions of the SS in the 
Karachai region, particularly the massacres of Jews. He has written 
that he personally helped save the lives of a small group of moun¬ 
tain tribesmen known as the Tats from extermination. The Tats 
were Jewish by religion, but Iranian by ethnic heritage, and the 



‘See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 


119 


Wehrmacht and the SS were divided over the question of whether 
or not they should be massacred. Poppe asserts that he helped 
convince the Nazis that the Tats should be classed as non-Jewish 
and thus be allowed to live. There is no known proof other than 
Poppe’s own statement that he took this action. It is a fact, however, 
that Poppe was an expert on the races of the region, that he was 
collaborating with the Germans at the time, and that the Tats were 
indeed spared. 20 

Whatever his reservations about the SS may have been, Poppe 
nonetheless volunteered to work for it for the remainder of the war. 
The SS installed him at the Wannsee Institute in 1943 as one of its 
most important intelligence experts on the USSR. The team of 
collaborators at Wannsee prepared reliable studies for the SS and 
the German high command describing the location of promising 
targets inside the Soviet Union, including concentrations of Jews 
and other minority groups. 21 This intelligence was of value to the 
SS for guiding the deployment of killing squads and to the Wehr¬ 
macht for planning military operations. While the SS would cer¬ 
tainly have destroyed many innocent people without the help of 
the team of defectors at Wannsee, it is nevertheless true that their 
research permitted them to do the job more quickly and efficiently 
than would have otherwise been the case. The Wannsee collabora¬ 
tors did not sign orders for executions; they just told the killers 
where to find their prey. 

Poppe says today that the personnel of the Wannsee Institute did 
not commit war crimes. In reality, however, Poppe’s immediate 
superior at the institute ordered the murder of Jewish bookdealers 
throughout Eastern Europe and organized SS looting teams that 
seized the libraries of universities and scholarly institutes through¬ 
out German-occupied territory in order to improve Wannsee’s col¬ 
lection of restricted books on the USSR. 22 

Poppe also asserts that his work for the SS consisted exclusively 
of monographs on Mongolian religious customs and on Siberia. This 
claim is difficult to take at face value, however, in light of his strong 
expertise on the Caucasus region of the USSR, one of the most 
important focal points of the war at the time he was employed by 
the SS. 23 

After the war Poppe worked briefly for British intelligence, then 
for the United States in the “historical study group” at Camp King. 
Before long he approached U.S. intelligence officials seeking per¬ 
mission to emigrate to the United States. U.S. officials knew exactly 




120 BLOWBACK 


whom they were getting when they imported Dr. Poppe. Among 
the now-declassified records of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence 
Corps is the following memo, which is reproduced here in full: 

TOP SECRET 

22 May 1947 

SUBJECT: Personnel of Possible Intelligence Interest 

TO: Deputy Director of Intelligence, Headquarters, European Com¬ 
mand, Frankfurt 
APO 757 US Army 

1. At the present time there is residing in the British Zone a Soviet 
citizen by the name of Nicolai Nicolovitch [s/c] Poppe. He is living 
under an assumed name. Mr. Poppe is an authority on and a professor 
of Far Eastern languages. 

2. His presence in the British Zone is a source of embarrassment to 
British Military Government, as the Soviet authorities are continually 
asking for his return as a war criminal. The British feel that Mr. Poppe 
is valuable as an intelligence source and have asked me if it is possible 
for U.S. intelligence authorities to take him off their ha nds and see that 
he is sent to the US. where he can be “lost.” [Emphasis added.] 

3. For my information will you advise me as to what you may be able 
to do in this matter or in similar cases which may arise in the future. 

[signed] 

PETER P. RODES 

Colonel GSC 

Director of Intelligence 24 

Poppe was indeed “lost” by the Americans. Despite U.S. knowl¬ 
edge of Poppe’s work for Nazi intelligence and Soviet efforts to 
capture him—indeed, probably precisely because of that knowl¬ 
edge—he was given a false name (Joseph Alexandris) while in Ger¬ 
many and was brought to the United States in 1949. Sanitized State 
Department telegraphic correspondence between Berlin and 
Washington, D.C., released under the Freedom of Information Act 
reveal that Poppe’s immigration to the United States was directly 
overseen by George Kennan and John Paton Davies, at the time 
senior executives in the political warfare unit at the State Depart¬ 
ment. 25 

According to Poppe’s own account, he was flown to Westover 



‘See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 


121 


Field in Massachusetts aboard a U.S. Military Air Transport plane 
in May 1949. The following day he was flown to Washington, D.C., 
“where a man sent by the State Department was standing on the 
airfield to meet me.” 26 While Poppe was in Washington, his work 
was coordinated by Carmel Offie, the OPC officer working under 
State Department cover who was responsible for the care and feed¬ 
ing of a number of Bloodstone emigres. 

Nikolai N. Poppe has since emerged as one of America’s most 
prominent authorities on Soviet Mongolia, and he has helped train 
a generation of U.S. intelligence officers on the politics and culture 
of minority nationalities inside the USSR. Following a brief sojourn 
with Gustav Hilger at the State Department, Poppe was employed 
as a professor of Far Eastern languages at the University of Wash¬ 
ington at Seattle. He remained there until his retirement and is a 
professor emeritus at that institution today. He is also a well-known 
scholar on Tibetan Buddhism and the author of more than 200 
scholarly books, articles, and reviews concerning the history and 
languages of Central Asian peoples. 27 

An incident during Poppe’s career in the 1950s illustrates the 
delicate influence that certain former Nazi collaborators have had 
on domestic politics in the United States. Early in the McCarthy era 
Professor Owen Lattimore, the director of the Walter Hines Page 
School of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University and 
a longtime adviser on Asian affairs to the State Department, was 
brought before a congressional investigating committee to face ac¬ 
cusations of espionage and running a “Communist cell” in the Insti¬ 
tute for Pacific Relations. McCarthy, whose allegations were al¬ 
ready drawing criticism from Democrats and even a few 
Republicans, had pledged that his entire anti-Communist crusade 
would “stand or fall” on the supposed proof he had in the Lattimore 
case. As it turned out, McCarthy did not have evidence, and the 
committee ended up clearing Professor Lattimore. McCarthy had, 
in the language of a Senate committee’s report on the case, perpe¬ 
trated a “fraud and a hoax ... on the Senate” and had “stooped to 
a new low in his cavalier disregard of the facts.” 

Poppe’s testimony, however, proved to be an important element 
in the resurrection of McCarthy’s case against Lattimore. Poppe 
had (and has) a personal grievance against Lattimore, who he claims 
used his influence to block Poppe’s immigration to the United 
States prior to 1949. In 1952 McCarthy and his ally Senator William 
Jenner organized a series of highly publicized, uncorroborated alle- 




122 BLOWBACK 


gations from former Communist Party, USA, official Louis Budenz 
claiming that Lattimore had been a party member. Those asser¬ 
tions covered Lattimore’s domestic activities in the United States. 
It was left to Poppe, who was also a rival of Lattimore’s in the field 
of Central Asia studies, to suggest that Lattimore’s supposed loyalty 
to Stalin might be even more direct. Much of Lattimore’s work on 
Mongolia was “very superficial,” Poppe testified as an expert wit¬ 
ness, “and give[s] a distorted picture of the realities.. . . [Lattimore] 
had read all of this in various Soviet papers, and had taken these 
statements from them.” 28 Poppe also says that he told Senate Inter¬ 
nal Security Subcommittee investigators that he knew that Lat¬ 
timore had conspired with “important Communist party bosses” 
during a trip to Moscow in the 1930s, although this latter claim was 
not published in the committee’s testimony. The fact that Poppe 
had worked for the SS during the war was not brought out at the 
hearings, nor was the issue of Poppe’s personal reason for disliking 
Lattimore. 29 

Lattimore was hounded by McCarthy and his allies for the rest 
of his professional career. He was repeatedly called before congres¬ 
sional investigating committees, publicly denounced (in part as the 
result of Poppe’s testimony) as a “conscious, articulate instrument 
of the Soviet conspiracy . . . since the 1930s,” and indicted for 
perjury. The charges were eventually dropped for lack of evidence, 
but that was a Pyrrhic victory for Lattimore. He left the country at 
age sixty-three to take a teaching assignment at Leeds University 
in England. 

Today Poppe openly discusses many aspects of his work for the 
Nazis and insists that he shares no responsibility for war crimes. In 
1948, Poppe says, “the Americans who wanted me to come to the 
U.S. interrogated me. I told them everything about Wannsee and 
about [SS RSHA] Amt VI. They said that this was not regarded as 
a war crimes organization. They said, ‘All right, you have not to fear 
anything.’* “[SS Standartenfiihrer] Augsburg and [Wannsee Direc- 

*In 1985 the U.S, General Accounting Office reported that U.S, intelligence agencies 
considered Poppe to have been a “traitor” during the war, as the GAO put it, but not a “war 
criminal” at the time they sponsored his immigration into the United States in 1948. 

More recently the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which 
is responsible for prosecuting Nazis and collaborators alleged to have entered this country 
illegally, closed out an investigation of Poppe’s immigration to the United States without 
bringing any charges against him. This action was taken in part because the OSI determined 
that Poppe had disclosed his relationship with the SS to U.S. intelligence prior to his immigra¬ 
tion, thus making it highly unlikely that the OSI could successfully prosecute Poppe for illegal 
entry into the United States, 



123 


“See That He Is Sent to the U.S. 

tor] Akhmeteli,” according to Poppe, “also did not have to fear 
anything. We were just doing research, and any nation does that in 
wartime.” Poppe is philosophical about his defection to the Nazis. 
“Things do not always go by a straight line,” he says, referring to 
his journey from the USSR to the United States. “There are also 
breaks, and zigs and zags.” 30 

While Poppe was an intelligence expert and Hilger a high-rank¬ 
ing diplomat, a large number of Bloodstone recruits appear to have 
been leaders of pro-Axis emigre organizations. One example of this 
type of Bloodstone profile will have to suffice. In this case, which 
actually involves not just one but at least six high-ranking Albanian 
emigres, we again see that certain Bloodstone recruits had back¬ 
grounds as leading Nazi collaborators. 

Midhat Frasheri had been head of the Albanian Nazi collabora¬ 
tionist organization Balli Kombetar during the war. Frasheri first 
approached the U.S. ambassador in Rome in 1947 with a plan to 
import fifty Albanian refugee leaders into the United States to 
counteract what he called Communist “intrigues” among Albani¬ 
ans living in this country, according to Stanford University doctoral 
candidate Marc Truitt, who first uncovered the incident. 31 

Among the men proposed by Frasheri were Xhafer Deva, the 
former minister of interior of the Italian Fascist occupation regime 
in Albania, who had been responsible for deportation of “Jews, 
Communists, partisans and suspicious persons” (as a captured SS 
report put it) to extermination camps in Poland as well as for puni¬ 
tive raids by the Nazi-organized Albanian SS Skanderbeg Division; 
Hasan Dosti, the former minister of justice in the pro-Fascist gov¬ 
ernment; Mustafa Merlika-Kruja, the Albanian premier from 1941 
to 1943; and, of course, Frasheri himself. Frasheri’s crew had been 
responsible for the administration of Albania under Fascist sponsor¬ 
ship. The small mountain territory had relatively few Jews, so rela¬ 
tively few were captured and killed, but not for lack of trying by 
the Balli Kombetar organization, and the Albanian SS. Surviving 
reports implicate the Albanian SS division in a series of anti-Semitic 
purges that rounded up about 800 people, the majority of whom 
were deported and murdered. 

The U.S. State Department initially rejected Frasheri’s plan be¬ 
cause of what it termed the “somewhat checkered” background of 
his wards. But his plan later came to the attention of Robert Joyce, 
the State Department’s liaison officer with the CIA and OPC, who 
was active in Bloodstone and other political warfare programs. On 




124 BLOWBACK 


May 12,1949, Joyce took steps to obtain a U.S. visa for Frasheri. The 
Albanian collaborator’s entry into the United States “is considered 
in the national interest” by “our friends,” Joyce wrote in an appar¬ 
ent reference to Wisner’s OPC division at the CIA. The visa was 
issued, and Frasheri entered the United States later that year, fol¬ 
lowed shortly by his team of Albanian leaders. 32 

Once inside the country, Frasheri, Deva, Dosti, and several oth¬ 
ers established the National Committee for a Free Albania, which 
was substantially financed by the CIA with funds laun d ered 
jd^rcuigh-f^ndatbQ^and through Radio Free Europ e. The commit¬ 
tee subsequently^played an important role in recruiting Albanian 
refugees for a series of abortive invasions of their homeland spon¬ 
sored by the OPC under NSC 10/2. It is now known, however, that 
those invasion attempts were betrayed by British double agent Kim 
Philby and by Soviet spies among the emigres in Europe. The 
unfortunate Albanian rebels attempting to overthrow the Albanian 
Communist Enver Hoxha’s regime in their homeland were quickly 
rounded up and shot. 

Frasheri’s senior lieutenants were safely in the United States and 
able to avoid that fate, however. M ost o fjthem went^on to lo jag, 
car eers in right-wing politics in the United Sta tes and were active 
in the AssembIy^5F^Captfve European Nations, which was also 
financed by the CIA, according to a study by the Congressional 
Research Service. QevgAiyed^cqmfortably in Palo Alto^California, 
until he died in 1978; Merlika-KrujaTTKe'former quisling premier, 
died in New York in 1958; and Hasan Dosti, the former minister of 
justice, is at this writing in his eighties and living in Los Angeles. 
All of them served as senior officers in the National Committee for 
a Free Albania and on a long list of Albanian fraternal groups in the 
United States. 33 Dosti dismisses charges that Albanian war crimi¬ 
nals entered the United States as nothing more than “Communist 
propaganda.” 



CHAPTER TEN 


Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 


Many of the Bloodstone recruits—both Nazi collaborators and anti- 
Nazis—were passed along to two heavily funded CIA psychological 
warfare projects that are still in operation. These two enterprises 
were authorized under the” !7 subversion against hostile states” and 
“propaganda” sections of NSC 10/2 and are probably the largest 
and most expensive political warfare efforts ever undertaken by the 
United States. They are certainly the longest-running and best- 
publicized “secret” operations ever. Their names are Radio Free 
Europe and Radio Liberation from Bolshevism, the latter of which 
is better known as Radio Liberation or Radio Liberty. 

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (usually abbreviated RFE/ 
RL) began in 1948 as a corporation named the National Committee 
for a Free Europe, a supposedly private charitable organization 
dedicated to aiding exiles from Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe. 
The roots of the RFE/RL effort, in an administrative sense, are the 
same political warfare programs that gave birth to Bloodstone and 
NSC 10/2. 

George Kennan, Allen Dulles, and a handful of other foreign 
affairs specialists came up with the National Committee for a Free 
Europe (NCFE) as a unique solution to a knotty problem. The U.S. 
government found it advantageous to maintain conventional, albeit 
frosty, diplomatic relations with the Communist-dominated gov¬ 
ernments of the USSR, Poland, Hungary, and the other satellite 


125 



126 BLOWBACK 


states. However, the Department of State and the intelligence com¬ 
munity also wished to underwrite the anti-Communist work of the 
numerous emigre organizations that claimed to represent “govern- 
ments-in-exile” of the same countries. It was impossible to have 
diplomatic relations with both the official governments of Eastern 
Europe and the “governments-in-exile” at the same time, for obvi¬ 
ous reasons. The NCFE was therefore launched to serve as a thinly 
veiled “private-sector” cover through which clandestine U.S. funds 
for the exile committees could be passed. 1 

The seed money for the National Committee for a Free Europe 
was drawn from the same pool of captured German assets that had 
earlier financed clandestine operations during the Italian election. 
At least $2 million left over from that affair found its way first into 
the hands of Frank Wisner’s OPC and then into the accounts of the 
NCFE, according to former RFE/RL president Sig Mickelson, who 
helped administer Radio Free Europe money for many years. Print¬ 
ing presses, radio transmitters, and other equipment salvaged from 
the Italian campaign were also transferred to the OPC and from 
there on to the NCFE. 2 

Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner combined their talents to line up 
an all-star board of directors for the NCFE that served as a cover, 
in effect, to explain where all the money was coming from. Early 
corporate notables who served on the board or as members of the 
NCFE include (to name only a few) J > £eteMI^^ 

& Compa ny and the National City Rank; H. J. Heinz of the_ Alellon „ 
Bank and Heinz tomato ketchup fame; Te xas^ oi lman^George C. 
McGhee; auto magnate Henry^jjprd II; film directors Darryl Za- 
Cecil B. De Mille; and so many Wall Street lawy ers that 
NCFE board mneFmgs^ould have resembled a gathering of the 
New York State Bar Association. The intelligence community’s con¬ 
tingent featured former OSS chief William J. Donovan, Russian 
emigre BemaixLYarrow, and Allen Du lles himself^among others. 

person of JjmesJLJQarey^ a self- 
” who played a leading role in the 
trade union movement’s purge of Communists during the late 
1940s. Carey was outspoken in his attitude concerning commu¬ 
nism. “In the last war we joined with the Communists to fight the 
Fascists,” he told the New York Herald Tribune. “In another war 
we will join the Fascists to defeat the Communists.” 3 

From the beginning the National Committee for a Free Europe 
depended upon the voluntary silence of powerful media personali- 


Labor^wa s^reprevented in the 



Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 


127 


tiesJL p the United State s to cloa k its true operations in secrecy . 
“Representatives of some^oTTEenation’s most influential media 
giants were involved early on as members of the corporation 
[NCFE],” Mickelson notes in a relatively frank history of its activi¬ 
ties. This board included “magazine publishers Henry L uce [of 
Time-Life] and DeWitt Wallace [of Reader's Digest ],” he writes, 
“but not a word of the government involvement appeared in print 
or on the air.” Luce and Wallace were not the only ones: CL-I2- 
Jackson, editor in chief of Fortune magazine, came on board in 
1951 as president of the entire Radio Free Europe effort, while 
Reader's Digest senior editor Eugene Lyons headed the American 
Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia Inc., a corpo¬ 
rate parent of Radio Liberation. Still, “sources of financing,” Mick¬ 
elson writes, were “never mentioned” in the press. 4 

The practical effect of this arrangement was the creation of a 
powerf ul lobby inside American m edia that tendec fTo^suppr ess 
c^jcaL^ws^^ncexcdlIgJ £he CIA’s^opaganda projects^ This was 
not simply a matter of declining to mention the fact that the agency 
was behind these programs, as Mickelson implies. Actually the 
media fa lsified their reports to the public concer ning 
mentVr ol e in Radio Free E urope and Radio Liberation for years, 
activel y promoting the~myth ^which most sophisticated editors 
knew”perfectly well was false—that these projects w ere finance d 
through ni ckel-and-dime co ntribuHpnsHro^TlQncernEd_citizens^ 
Writers soon learned that exposes concerning the NCFE and RFE/ 
RL were simply not welcome at mainstrea m publications . No cor¬ 
porate officers neededToT^sue^ahy memorandums to enforce this 
silence: with C. D. Jackson as RFE/RL’s president and Luce himself 
on the group’s board of directors, for example, Time's and Life's 
authors were no more likely to delve into the darker side of RFE/ 
RL than they were to attack the American flag. 

CIA-funded psychological warfare projects employing Eastern 
European emigres became major operations during the 1950s, con¬ 
suming tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Noted con¬ 
servative author (and OPC psychological warfare consultant) James 
Burnham estimated in 1953 that the United States was spending 
“well over a billion dollars yearly” on a wide variety of psychologi¬ 
cal warfare projects, and that was in preinflation dollars. 5 This in¬ 
cluded underwriting most of the French Paix et Liberte move¬ 
ment, paying the bills of the German League for Struggle Against 
Inhumanity, and financing a half dozen free jurists associations, a 



128 BLOWBACK 


variety of European federalist groups, the Congress for Cultural 
Freedom, magazines, news services, book publishers, and much 
more. 

These were very broad programs designed to influence world 
public opinion at virtually every level, from illiterate peasants in 
the fields to the most sophisticated scholars in prestigious universi¬ 
ties. They drew on a wide range of resources: labor unions, advertis¬ 
ing agencies, college professors, journalists, and student leaders, to 
name a few. The political analysis they promoted varied from case 
to case, but taken as a whole, this was prodemocracy, pro-West, and 
anti-Communist thinking, with a frequent “tilt” toward liberal or 
European-style Social Democratic ideals. They were not “Nazi” 
propaganda efforts, nor were many of the men and women en¬ 
gaged in them former Nazi collaborators or sympathizers. In 
Europe, at least, the Central Intelligence Agency has historically 
been the clandestine promoter of the parties of the political center, 
not the extreme right. 

Contrary to Soviet propaganda, “anti-Communist” and “pro- 
Nazi” are not the same thing among the exiled politicians and 
emigre organizations from Eastern Europe, including those that 
were sponsored by the CIA in the 1950s. The large majority of these 
exile politicians and scholars who accepted covert U.S. aid during 
the cold war had not been Nazi collaborators. Many of them, espe¬ 
cially the anti-Communist Czechs and Poles, themselves had suf¬ 
fered grievously at the hands of the Nazis. 

But the American policy expressed in NSC 20 and similar high- 
level decisions set the stage for U.S. enlistment of some exiles who 
had been Nazi collaborators. By refusing to make distinctions 
among the various anti-Communist exile groups, the CIA soon 
found itself with a substantial number of former Nazis and col¬ 
laborators on its payroll. These recruitments were not “accidental” 
if the word implies that the CIA did not know what those groups 
had done during the war, nor were they as rare as most people 
assume. The how and why of some of those cases are the focus of 
the story in the pages that follow. 

Beginning as early as 1948 and picking up speed in the decade 
that followed, the National Committee for a Free Europe and its 
sister project, the American Committee for Liberation from Bol¬ 
shevism, became the single most important pipeline through which 
the CIA passed money for emigre leaders. Although both were 
supposedly private, voluntary organizations, the political control of 



Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 129 


these projects and virtually all their funding was actually provided 
by Wisner’s OPC division at the CIA. 

Contrary to popular impression, the well-known radio transmis¬ 
sions of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation were added only 
as something of an afterthought several years after the CIA’s fund¬ 
ing of emigre projects had begun. Radio transmissions into Central 
and Eastern Europe began in 1950 under Radio Free Europe’s 
auspices, then expanded to include programs beamed into the 
USSR itself through RFE’s sister project, Radio Liberation from 
Bolshevism, in early 1953. Radio Liberation from Bolshevism was 
renamed Radio Liberty during a thaw in the cold war in 1963. The 
CIA’s direct sponsorship of these programs continued until 1973, 
when a new (and somewhat more public) Board for International 
Broadcasting was established to fund and administer the radio 
propaganda effort. The corporate names and details of organiza¬ 
tional structure of these projects went through a number of changes 
in those years, which are summarized in the source notes. 6 For 
simplicity’s sake, the text that follows uses RFE/RL to refer to these 
projects. 

By the early 1970s the U.S. government had poured at least $100 
million into support of political activities of the Eastern European 
exile groups through the RFE/RL conduit alone, according to an 
unclassified study by the government’s General Accounting Office. 7 
That money, however, was only the beginning. An unknown sum 
clearly totaling many tens of millions of dollars more found its way 
into CIA-sponsored emigre programs by way of Europea n Recov- 



aid to West Germany, and donations of U.S. military surplus goods. 

Nazi collaborators’ links to the U.S. political warfare effort be¬ 
came particularly pronounced in the governments-in-exile divi¬ 
sions of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation, which were the 
main administrative channels for CIA money flowing to a number 
of Eastern European emigre groups. The RFE division funded the 
“governments-in-exile” or “national committees” (as they were 
often called) for most of the countries occupied by the USSR at the 
end of the war, while a similar structure inside Radio Liberation 
performed much the same job for exiles from a dozen different 
nationalities within the Soviet Union itself. 8 

During World War II both the Axis and the Allies had financed 
such national committees as a means of mobilizing resistance, keep¬ 
ing an eye on refugees from occupied territories, and creating be- 



130 BLOWBACK 


hind-the-lines spy networks. The intelligence services or foreign 
ministries of the belligerents passed money to favored exile leaders, 
who in turn distributed patronage and favors to followers they 
considered loyal. 

RFE/RL recruiters wanted to re-create these governments-in- 
exile for propaganda use against the USSR and its satellite countries. 
They were faced with a difficult problem in the early years, how¬ 
ever, because many of their more promising volunteers turned out 
to have been willing Nazi collaborators. Often the national commit¬ 
tees that had been sponsored by Berlin remained well organized 
and relatively powerful even after the German defeat, and these 
groups sometimes controlled the displaced persons camps where 
refugees of their nationality had been dumped by the Allies. The 
quisling national committees included men whom the Nazis had 
sponsored as mayors, government officials, newspaper editors, and 
police chiefs during the German occupation. They were ex¬ 
perienced in working together, and their organizations were often 
backed up by gangs of thugs made up of Waffen SS and Vlasov Army 
veterans who made sure that things ran smoothly inside the camps. 

These formerly pro-Nazi national committees had, almost with¬ 
out exception, jettisoned their Fascist rhetoric and Iron Cross 
awards following the collapse of Berlin. They took to presenting 
themselves as democrats, freedom fighters, and even anti-Nazis. 
These false stories should have been transparent, considering that 
the United States had captured enough of the German intelligence 
archives to document the activities of thousands of the more promi¬ 
nent collaborators, had it been a priority to dig their names out of 
Nazi correspondence. But no one in the Western intelligence agen¬ 
cies, it seems, was willing to look critically at the wartime careers 
of the emigres who were eager to help the United States in the cold 
war. Instead, the intense secrecy that surrounded Wisner’s OPC 
and similar psychological warfare projects protected many ex-Nazis 
and collaborators by putting a top secret stamp on their activities. 

RFE recruiters generally attempted to shun Nazi collaborators 
when it was possible to do so, and they often favored democrats and 
moderate socialists for their ability to present an alternative to the 
USSR, on the one hand, and to the old monarchist or Nazi power 
structures, on the other. This liberal, anti-Communist approach was 
successful in recruiting agents from some of the wartime exile gov¬ 
ernments that had been founded under British auspices in London 
or from among certain Czech and Hungarian political groups which 



Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 131 




t *! 1 






--G' 0 ’ 


had established some measure of democratic power between World 
Wars I and IL The left-leaning Council for a Free Czechoslovakia 
under Peter Zenkl, to name one example, was usually favored over 
the more reactionary Slovak Liberation Committee under Ferdi¬ 
nand Durcansky, which^openly^pledged its allegiance to the genoci- 
dal wartime regime of) Monsignor f ozef Tiso. 9 RFE’s sympathy for 
the Zenkl committee overitsTivals led to endless, bitter attacks on 
both Radio Free Europe and Zenkl, many of which appeared in 
rightist emigre journals that were themselves receiving U.S. gov¬ 
ernment subsidies. 

Even among exiles from the more democratic countries, how¬ 
ever, the Nazi collaborationist influence remained substantial. The 
Americans sometimes ended up hiring former quislings and col¬ 
laborators because it seemed there were few other choices availa¬ 
ble. Men such as Ladislav Niznansky and Emil Csonka (to name 
only two examples among many), both of whom had played well- 
publicized roles in the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, found 
themselves jobs and influence under RFE sponsorship.* 

The problem of finding anti-Communist liberals was far more 
difficult among refugees from the USSR. “There were no significant 
‘democratic elements’ in Russia,” Kennan was to admit later. 
“Thirty years of Communist terror had seen to that.” 10 That was an 
overstatement, perhaps, but not by much. No “democratic” com¬ 
mittees had been established among these groups by the British 
during the war. Stalin’s government, after all, had been a crucial 
ally. Indeed, the only organizations of any strength among the 
exiles from Belorussia (White Russia), the Ukraine, Turkestan, Azer- 


*Niznansky is reported to have participated in the special SS Kommando “Edelweiss” and 
to have won the German Iron Cross, second class, for his efforts. A Czechoslovakian court 
tried him in absentia and condemned him to death for war crimes, including four massacres 
of civilians by troops under his personal command which took place in late 1944 and early 
1945 in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Many of the victims were women and children. In 
addition, evidence was offered at his trial that he had participated in the December 12,1944, 
murder of Anglo-American military mission officers that took place near Polomka. Niznansky 
went to work for the CIC at least as early as 1948, when he was an interpreter and interroga¬ 
tor at Braunau. He was hired by RFE at least as early as 1955, and he served for many years 
as a specialist in work among Czechoslovakians who were visiting or who had emigrated to 
the West. 

Csonka is alleged to have been a member of the Fascist Hungarian Arrow Cross party 
during the war and to have served as both a youth leader in that organization and, for a time, 
secretary to Ferenc Szalasi, the organization’s leader, who was executed for war crimes in 
1946. Following the war Csonka worked for French intelligence. He joined RFE at least as 
early as 1954 as a political editor specializing in Hungarian questions. He has often used the 
pseudonym Gergely Vasvari. 



132 BLOWBACK 


baijan, and several other Soviet nationalities were precisely those 
that had enthusiastically collaborated during the Nazi occupation. 
Whether out of cynicism or the pressures of the cold war, or both, 
these organizations and the men who ran them were recruited, 
financed, and protected by Radio Liberation. 

In a number of cases RL recruiters did not even bother to change 
the names, much less the leadership, of the nationality committees 
that had served the Nazis. The North Caucasian National Commit¬ 
tee, the Georgian Government in Exile, and the Belorussian Cen¬ 
tral Rada, for example, all of which had been founded or adminis¬ 
tered under Berlin’s watchful eye, retained their names, 
memberships, and most of their central committees intact under 
U.S. sponsorship. In a revealing act of indiscretion, even the U.S. 
cover organization for the Radio Liberation operation, the Ameri¬ 
can Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, took its 
name directly from Vlasov’s Komitet Osvobozhdeniia Narodov Ros- 
sii (KONR), which had been created under joint SS and Nazi For¬ 
eign Office sponsorship in Prague in 1944. 11 

Frank Wisner’s Office for Policy Coordination, backed up 
strongly on this issue by Kennan, established the American Com¬ 
mittee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (usually ab¬ 
breviated as AMCOMLIB). AMCOMLIB was both an implementa¬ 
tion and a development of NSC 20. Now, as Wisner envisioned it, 
the OPC would use its considerable financial resources to induce all 
the various Soviet emigre organizations, including those that had 
been most active on behalf of the Nazis, to unite into a single 
anti-Communist federation. This movement was to include not 
only people of Russian nationality but those of the Ukrainian, 
Belorussian, Cossack, Turkic, and other minority groups as well. 
This was to be a united anti-Stalin movement in which all non- 
Communist exiles from the USSR could participate. 

But the same problems that had once plagued the Germans reap¬ 
peared almost immediately. Each of the minority groups de¬ 
manded equality within the envisioned federation. Ukrainian lead¬ 
ers insisted on the right to secede from any government created 
after the planned overthrow of Stalin. The ethnic Russian national¬ 
ists, on the other hand, refused to accept the Ukrainians’ conditions 
because they regarded the Ukraine as a component part of the 
Russian empire. The battle among the emigre groups escalated 
from there. 

The first concession demanded by the Ukrainians was a change 



Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 133 


in the name of the federation; a committee for the liberation of the 
peoples of Russia implied that they considered themselves part of 
Russia, as they emphatically did not. So the name was changed to 
American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, a term 
which had been favored by Nazi propagandists in the Ukraine. In 
the end, however, this attempt at unity also failed, and the emigre 
groups continued bitter factional fighting. 

Even the federation’s name eventually turned into an embarrass¬ 
ment. The American organizers of the committee, former RFE/RL 
President Sig Mickelson notes, “seem to have been unaware that 
‘Bolshevism’ had been Hitler’s favorite term of disparagement for 
the Soviet Union.” The Soviet government lost no time in pointing 
out the rhetorical similarity between Radio Liberation’s broadcasts 
and those of the Nazis as well as the fact that a number of easily 
identified Nazi collaborators were working for the station. Accord¬ 
ing to Mickelson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation were 
eventually forced to ban the use of the term Bolshevism in their 
news broadcasts because of its unmistakable association with Nazi 
propaganda in the minds of European listeners. 12 

Wisner’s OPC division of the CIA appears to have lost control of 
many of its emigre assets as their factional conflicts expanded. Exile 
leaders fought bitterly among themselves, split coalitions they had 
been instructed to support, and undertook murders and other 
paramilitary operations that they concealed from their American 
sponsors. Several leaders of the Russian nationalists are now known 
to have been simultaneously on several other payrolls, including 
that of the USSR, and were providing false information to each of 
their patrons. Double, triple, and quadruple agents were the rule, 
not an exception. Political murders and kidnappings became com¬ 
monplace. 

One U.S.-financed exile group, known as TsOPE by its Russian 
initials, even went so far as to blow up its own headquarters, then 
blame the deed on the Soviet security police. The idea was to prove 
that its organization must be the most effective anti-Communist 
force, and thus worthy of increased funding, because the Soviets 
had singled it out for sabotage. TsOPE’s inspired plan unraveled, 
however, when its office staff was brought in for questioning by 
American investigators. 13 

The well-known radio broadcasting operations of RFE/RL were 
secondary to the National Committee for a Free Europe’s funding 



134 BLOWBACK 


of exile political action committees during the late 1940s. The ra¬ 
dios were only added as something of an afterthought as the weak¬ 
nesses in Thayer’s work at the Voice of America became apparent. 
Thayer’s radio propaganda efforts at the VO A—which were, it will 
be recalled, one of the impetuses for Bloodstone—had been shown 
to be counterproductive relatively quickly. His vitriolic attacks on 
Eastern European regimes, the State Department soon discovered, 
were taken by their targets as official policy statements of the U.S. 
government because they were broadcast on the official radio voice 
of the United States. The Policy Planning Staff concluded that use 
of an official mouthpiece for the more virulent anti-Communist 
propaganda actually ended up restricting the U.S. government’s 
ability to deal effectively with the complex political rivalries in the 
region. Instead, it argued, the government should secretly expand 
the supposedly “private” NCFE to handle radio broadcasting 
aimed at the USSR and its satellites. This would permit some mea¬ 
sure of “deniability” for the broadcasts and personalities associated 
with RFE/RL. 

Unlike the relative moderation of the present-day RFE/RL 
broadcasts, the cold war operations of these stations were hard¬ 
hitting. It was “bare fists and brass knuckles,” as Sig Mickelson puts 
it. Their work was, as National Committee for a Free Europe Presi¬ 
dent Dewitt Poole noted in one 1950 directive, “to take up the 
individual^Bolshevik rulers and their quislings and tear them apart, 
exposing their motivations, laying bare their private lives, pointing 
at their meannesses, pillorying their evil deeds, holding them up to 
ridicule and contumely.” 14 Further, the radio broadcasting opera¬ 
tions were themselves used as covers for a much broader range of 
political warfare activities, including printing and distributing 
black propaganda,* intelligence gathering, and the maintenance of 
agent networks behind the Iron Curtain. 

This tough agitation drew its ideological vigor from a variety of 
sources. Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were often quoted 
and praised in RFE/RL broadcasts, as were Eastern European na¬ 
tional heroes like the Hungarian Lajos Kossuth and the Pole Thad- 
deus Kosciuszko. At the same time, however, RFE/RL sometimes 

*“Black” propaganda is a standard covert operations technique in which the CIA—or any 
other intelligence agency—employs agents with no provable ties to the U.S. government to 
disseminate false information that is designed to discredit hostile foreign states. This includes 
spreading rumors of impending food shortages in order to precipitate hoarding and eco¬ 
nomic crises : for example, or leaking forged documents that might undermine the targeted 
government. 



Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 135 


produced a dull undertone of Nazi-like propaganda in its early 
years. At times material that had been directly created by the Nazi 
security service SD found its way into RFE/RL broadcasts and 
publications. The NCFE often distributed the highly publicized— 
but fraudulent—“Document on Terror/’ for example, as a means of 
crystallizing public anger in the West against communism during 
Radio Free Europe fund-raising campaigns. The “Document” pur¬ 
ported to be a translation of a captured Soviet secret police direc¬ 
tive encouraging the use of terror against civilian populations. It 
included sections on “general terror” (murders, hangings, etc.), 
“creating the psychosis of white fear,” “enlightened terror” (use of 
agents provocateurs), “disintegrating operations,” and others. The 
CIA aggressively promoted the text of the “Document” both di¬ 
rectly through RFE/RL and indirectly through coverage planted in 
a wide variety of sympathetic newspapers, magazines, and televi¬ 
sion broadcasts to audiences around the world. 

The NCFE announced that it had obtained the “Document” 
from “a former Baltic cabinet minister, favorably known to us,” 
who in turn had gotten it from a Ukrainian refugee, who in turn had 
“found it on the body of a dead NKVD officer” in Poland in 1948. 
The committee acknowledged in small type that it had “no means 
of conclusively establishing the authenticity” of the “Document,” 
but it insisted that it was a “genuine product of Communist theory” 
whose recommendations “did . . . take place.” This low-key caveat 
concerning the questionable authenticity of the “Document” was 
soon forgotten in the media storm that followed publication of the 
item. 15 ^ f ft ? f>^DL£S 

The “Document” became^ a staple of anti-Communist propa¬ 
ganda and continues to show up occasionally in extreme-right-wing 
publications to this day. Recycled extensively through congressio¬ 
nal hearings, Re ader’s Digest articles, and newspaper accounts, this 
“captured report” emerged as one of the frequently cited sources 
of “documentary evidence” of Communist terror during the cold 
war. It was not until 1956, with the publication of Khrushchev’s 
extraordinary report detailing Stalin’s crimes, that the “Document” 
began to fade from viewl 

In fact, however, the ‘iDocument” was a forgery, whose origins 
can be traced to the wartime Nazi intelligence service. The true 
source of the “Document?’ was, according to American psychologi¬ 
cal warfare expert Paul Blackstock, “one of the Nazi secret police 
or related terrorist organizations such as the Sicherheitsdienst or 

\ OTsDi TO T U6 GR(5DU U&5 



136 BLOWBACK 


one of the notorious SD or SS ‘action groups’ ”—that is, the Ein- 
satzgruppen (mobile murder squads). Blackstock uses an etymolog¬ 
ical investigation to track the origins of phrases used in the “Docu¬ 
ment” back to their sources. 16 He concludes that the section 
concerning “disintegrating operations,” for example, originated in 
a Nazi manual used for indoctrinating Eastern European collabora¬ 
tionist troops, including the Ukrainian Waffen SS. 

RFE/RL broadcasts sometimes featured well-known Nazi col¬ 
laborators and even outright war criminals. Officially, of course, the 
political slant of those stations was nondenominational support for 
“freedom” and “democracy.” The large majority of RFE/RL em¬ 
ployees were not Nazi collaborators, and the two stations often 
quoted anti-Nazi European politicians with approval. RFE/RL’s 
broadcasts of European S ocial Dem ocrats , in fact, occasionally led 
tocbm plaints~from har^core~ariti-nommunist congressmen in the 
(j$lJ^UnftecT?tates, who foTmd suchTi deas dangerousiy~close to commu- 
"jV nism. ~ ~~ ~ 

Even so, certain war criminals found a comfortable roost at RFE/ 
^ RL. Radio Free Europe repeatedly featured Romanian Fascist 
' leader (and Archbish op ofLthe Romanian Ort hodox jChureh in 
America) Valerian 1 rlfa, for example, in Romaniandanguage broad¬ 
casts, particularly during the 1950s. Vilis Hazners, who was accused 
^ in a CBS-TV 60 Minutes broadcast of spearheading a Nazi gang that 
“force[d] a number of Jews into a synagogue [which was] then set 
on fire,” emerged as a prominent Latvian personality in Radio 
„/Ma liberation transmissions. Hazners, at last report, was still broadcast- 
ing for RL in the 1980s. Belorussian quisling and mass murderer 
> Stanislaw Stankievich also frequently free-lanced programs for the 
^_pl\ radios. 17 

•f b / The Pentagon was gradually coming to grips with using former 
-.^jnlSlazi collaborators at about the same time that the State Depart- 
^ ment and CIA were. General Lucius Clay’s war . s care of early 1948. 
P' together with the deepening cold war, convinced many Americans 
lA-^ in and out of government that there was at least an even chance 
of an all-out U.S.-USSR war over Europe before the decade was out. 
^ As the final arbiter of U.S. security the Pentagon considers it part 
of its job to assume the worst about Soviet intentions in order to be 
adequately prepared for any eventuality. By 1948 that the United 
States would increasingly rely on atomic weapons to deter any 
Soviet military moves against the West had already become a fore- 






fir'*' n 'at 

V Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles 1 


r ftM ' 1 Bare Fists and Brass Knuckles ' 137 

/ r 1 iwpo^tfUfv^ooMpt.e-'t tv^ v b6Gut*Ji*JL 

gone conclusion/among most U.S. military strategists. The Ameri- / ^ 
can perceptionThat the Soviets enjoyed overwhelming superiority 
in troops ancTconventional arms in Europe seemed to leave few ^ 
other choices. 

The Pentagon was evolving a strategy of exactly how to go about 0 f\J 
using atomic weapons in a war with the USSR at about the same 
time that Kennan, Dulles, and Wisner were hammering together 
the National Committee for a Free Europe and the NSC iO/2^^ 
clandestine warfare authorization. By the time the decade was out, 
the military’s preparations for waging nuclear war—if that proved 


necesssary—had merged with many of the^on^oipg CIA ^mlState^ 
Department political warfare operations^at' hkve DeSen uiscus^ed^ 
thus far. As those two streams came together, Nazi collaborators 
became entwined with some of America’s most sensitive military 


affairs. 


CHAPTER ELEVEN 


Guerrillas for World War III 


The Vlasov Army and Waffen SS veterans from Eastern Europe 
worked hard to integrate themselves into the evolving U.S. nuclear 
weapons strategy during the cold war years. Colonel Philp and 
General Gehlen, it will be recalled, began as early as the winter of 
1945-1946 to use German officers and refugees from the East to 
gather information about military construction behind Soviet lines. 
Each time the location of a new Soviet military site was confirmed, 
word of its location was passed to a special U.S. Air Force office at 
the Pentagon whose job was the selection of targets slated for 
atomic annihilation. 

As U.S. atomic planning grew more sophisticated, the role of 
emigres in America's nuclear war-fighting strategy expanded 
quickly. By late 1948 paramilitary expert General Robert McClure 
had won the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to approval of a full-scale 
program of guerrilla warfare that was to follow any U.S. nuclear 
strike on the USSR. From then until at least 1956, when this strat¬ 
egy was at the height of its popularity in U.S. command circles, 
preparations for post-World War III guerrilla insurgencies em¬ 
ployed thousands of emigres from the USSR. Pentagon documents 
show that Vlasov veterans and Waffen SS men played a major role 
in these underground armies. Considering the wartime record of 
these forces, there is reason to suspect that a number of these 
enlistees may have been war criminals. 


138 




Guerrillas for World War III 139 

These emigres did not, of course, create U.S. nuclear strategy. 
The advent of atomic weapons and their impact on international 
affairs would have taken place with or without the use of former 
Nazis and collaborators in U.S. war planning. The exile soldiers 
simply rode the coattails of the movement toward reliance on nu¬ 
clear weapons during the late 1940s and early 1950s. In many cases 
they themselves were not aware of what the Pentagon had in mind 
for them. The integration of these groups into even the most hum¬ 
ble levels of U.S. nuclear planning, however, gave the military and 
intelligence agencies a powerful reason to conceal the Nazi pasts of 
their unusual troops. 

The process of integrating ex-Nazi emigre groups into U.S. nu¬ 
clear operations may be traced at least to early 1947, when General 
Hoyt Vandenberg became the first chief of staff of the newly inde¬ 
pendent U.S. Air Force. Vandenberg had commanded the Ninth 
Air Force in Europe during World War II, then been tapped to 
head the Central Intelligence Group, the immediate predecessor to 
the CIA, in 1946. Among the general’s responsibilities at the air 
force was the development of written plans describing strategies 
and tactics for the use of America’s new nuclear weapons in the 
event of war. 

“Vandenberg had a clear idea about just how he thought a nu¬ 
clear war was going to be fought,” argues retired Colonel Fletcher 
Prouty, who was a senior aide to the air force chief of staff in the 
1940s and later the top liaison man between the Pentagon and the 
CIA. “[He] knew that if there was a nuclear exchange in those 
days—and we are talking about atomic bombs, now, not H-bombs— 
you would destroy the communications and lifeblood of a country, 
but the country would still exist. It would just be rubble. People 
would be wandering around wanting to know who was boss and 
where the food was coming from and so forth, but the country 
would still be there. ” Therefore, the U.S. thinking went, “we must 
begin to create independent communications centers inside the 
Soviet Union [after the nuclear blast] and begin to pull it together 
for our ends.” 1 

The army, air force, and CIA all began competing programs to 
prepare for the post-nuclear battlefield. This included creation of 
what eventually came to be called the Special Forces—better 
known today as the Green Berets—in the army and the air resupply 
and communications wings in the air force. The job of these units, 
Prouty explains, was to set up anti-Communist political leaders 



140 BLOWBACK 


backed up by guerrilla armies inside the USSR and Eastern Europe 
in the wake of an atomic war, capture political power in strategic 
sections of the country, choke off any remaining Communist resist¬ 
ance, and ensure that the Red Army could not regroup for a 
counterattack. “Somebody had to bring order back into the coun¬ 
try, and before the Communists could do it we were going to come 
flying in there and do it,” Prouty says. 

“The Eastern European and Russian emigre groups we had 
picked up from the Germans were the center of this; they were the 
personnel,” according to the retired colonel. “The CIA was to pre¬ 
pare these forces in peacetime; stockpile weapons, radios, and Jeeps 
for them to use; and keep them ready in the event of war. A lot of 
this equipment came from military surplus. The CIA was also sup¬ 
posed to have some contacts inside [the USSR] worked out ahead 
of time for use when we got there, and that was also the job of the 
emigre groups on the agency payroll. In the meantime, they [the 
emigre troops] were useful for espionage or covert action.” Both 
the army and the CIA laid claim to the authority to control the 
guerrilla foot soldiers after war had actually been declared. 2 

A recently declassified top secret document from the JCS to Pres¬ 
ident Truman confirms Prouty’s assertion that the emigre armies 
enjoyed an important role in the eyes of nuclear planners of the 
time. The 1949 study begins with a summary of what was then the 
current atomic strategy. Seventy atomic bombs, along with an un¬ 
specified amount of conventional explosives, were slated to be 
dropped from long-range planes on selected Soviet targets over a 
thirty-day period. The impact of the attack had been carefully cal¬ 
culated, according to the JCS memo: About 40 percent of the Sovi¬ 
ets’ industrial capacity would be destroyed, including most of the 
militarily crucial petroleum industry. 

But this, the chiefs contended, would not guarantee victory. The 
thirty-day atomic assault, the Pentagon concluded with considera¬ 
ble understatement, “might stimulate resentment against the 
United States” among the people of the USSR, thus increasing their 
will to fight. A major program of political warfare following the 
attack was therefore essential, the JCS determined. In fact, the 
effectiveness of the atomic attack itself was “dependent upon 
the adequacy and promptness of [the] associated military and psy¬ 
chological operations.... Failing prompt and effective exploitation, 
the opportunity would be lost and subsequent Soviet psychological 



Guerrillas for World War III 141 

reactions would adversely affect the accomplishment of Allied ob¬ 
jectives/’ 3 

The commitment of five wings of B-29 bombers to the emigre 
guerrilla army project is a practical measure of the importance that 
the Pentagon attached to it. The B-29 was the largest, most sophis¬ 
ticated, and most expensive heavy bomber in the U.S. inventory at 
the time. According to Prouty, General Vandenberg originally con¬ 
ceived of the air force’s role in psychological and guerrilla warfare 
as a third branch of his service, equal, at least in administrative 
status, to the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Com¬ 
mand. Special Forces visionaries in the army such as General 
McClure had similar plans for that service as well. 

The Vlasov Army guerrilla training proposals earlier initiated by 
Kennan, Thayer, and Lindsay fitted neatly into the military’s nu¬ 
clear strike force plans. By the beginning of 1949 the two projects 
were gradually merging into a single strategy combining preconfla¬ 
gration psychological warfare and clandestine action under the 
control of the CIA and State Department with postnuclear guerrilla 
armies under military command. 

Extreme secrecy cloaked every aspect of U.S. atomic policy, and 
the fact that the United States was training an emigre army for use 
following an atomic attack on the USSR was among the most closely 
held details. Even the foot soldiers who were destined to be 
dropped into the radioactive ruins of the USSR were not to be 
informed of the details of their mission until the final moments 
before their departure. The secrecy was designed to conceal the 
military strategy, not the fact that a number of recruits had Nazi 
backgrounds. But the sensitivity of the mission guaranteed that 
newspaper reporters and academics could usually be tactfully de¬ 
terred from probing too deeply into the origins of the Special 
Forces. Anyone who refused to take the hint was met with a stone 
wall of government silence.* 

It was up to the U.S. Army to devise a program for the day-to-day 

*Once, in 1952, a reporter strayed too close to the truth, and the following single sentence 
appeared in Newsweek: “The Army will soon open a secret guerrilla warfare and sabotage 
school for military personnel and CIA agents at Ft. Bragg, N.C.” Army psychological warfare 
chief General Robert McClure was enraged by the security lapse and demanded a full field 
investigation into the reporter’s activities in order to trace the leak to its source. Army 
intelligence had its hands full with the Korean War at the time, however, and is said to have 
declined to follow up on McClure’s request. Even so, the incident reveals how closely the 
Special Forces secret was being held. 



142 BLOWBACK 


maintenance of several thousand of the CIA’s emigre guerrillas 
until “the balloon goes up,” as a nuclear crisis has come to be called 
in national security circles. The stockpiling of military equipment 
was fairly simple in those days, when warehouses full of World War 
II surplus material were available. But how does even the U.S. 
Army go about hiding an armed force of several thousand enthusi¬ 
astic anti-Communists in the European heartland? The answer was 
simple, in a way: The emigre soldiers were hidden inside another 
army. Those covers were known as Labo r Service companies , and 
these U.S.-financed paramilitary units are a story in themselves. 

These OTgamzations began'shortly after the war as U.S. Army- 
sponsored Labor Service units or Industrial Police corps inside oc¬ 
cupied Germany. They were U.S. Army-financed semimilitary 
corps of about 40,000 displaced persons and refugees set up to 
guard POW camps, clear rubble from bombed-out cities, locate 
graves of casualties, and carry out similar tasks. The U.S. govern¬ 
ment’s rationale for the program was that the labor companies 
provided a cheap and relatively reliable source of workers for the 
army, navy, and occupation government at a time when the mili¬ 
tary was struggling against budget cutting and a demobilization 
mood in the Congress. The units offered employment, housing, and 
respectability to their recruits at a time when much of Europe was 
a shattered wasteland, so thousands of displaced persons flocked to 
enlist.* Former Nazis or members of armies that had taken up arms 


*The United States* postwar labor service units were known at various times as Labor 
Service Guard Companies, Labor Service Companies (Guard), Technical Labor Service 
Units, Labor Service Technical Units, Industrial Police, Civilian Guard Companies, Military 
Labor Service, and a half dozen other similar names. All, however, were under the nominal 
command of the U.S. Army European Command’s Labor Service Division. The names Labor 
Service companies and Labor Service units are used throughout this discussion for simplic¬ 
ity’s sake. 

The use of such Labor Service companies for arms training and as cover for clandestine 
paramilitary brigades is a well-established practice in Europe. The Nazis, for example, 
created similar brigades of Ukrainians and foreign-born Germans for use during the invasions 
of Poland and the Baltic states. These Nazi Labor Service squads often did double duty as 
triggermen and goons during the Holocaust. 

After the war the USSR also organized its own labor companies out of the German POWs 
it had captured. “Former German military personnel, both officers and other ranks, held in 
the USSR as prisoners of war have been organized into labor battalions,” the CIA reported 
in 1947. “[They] have been given Soviet training for administration posts, and police work, 
and in some instances been organized into small combat units for use against Baltic parti¬ 
sans.” These men, the CIA continued, were “available for service with whatever regime the 
Kremlin elect[s] to establish in Germany.” The Soviets also created labor units from among 
captured Poles, Yugoslavs, and Romanians who had fought on the German side during the 
war, according to the agency. 



Guerrillas for World War III 143 

against the United States were strictly barred from participating in 
the Labor Service units, at least officially, and U.S. occupation au¬ 
thorities announced that they would undertake a reasonably thor¬ 
ough screening process for new recruits. 4 

Despite the official ban on hiring ex-Nazis, however, the Labor 
Service divisions began recruiting Waffen SS volunteers at least as 
early as 1946. Before long many members of Latvian, Lithuanian, 
and Estonian labor units found themselves serving under the same 
officers in Labor Service companies as they had earlier in the SS. An 
examination of several of the Latvian companies provides a clear- 
cut example of the penetration of ex-Nazis into the Labor Service 
units, and the same pattern held true for Albanian, Lithuanian, and 
some Estonian units. 

The first Latvian labor company, for example, was created on 
June 27, 1946, under the command of Voldemars Skaistlauks, a 
former Latvian SS general. All six of his top lieutenants in the 
U.S.-sponsored unit were Latvian SS veterans. The next Latvian 
labor unit was the 8850th Engineer Construction Company head¬ 
quartered at Frankfurt, which officially consisted mainly of truck 
drivers and heavy equipment operators. The senior Latvian officer 
there was Talivaldis Karklins, who had been a top officer of the 
Madonna concentration camp during the war. Karklins was ac¬ 
cused in sworn testimony by former inmates of Madonna of leading 
torture and murder at that camp. He emigrated to the United 
States in 1956.* His chief lieutenant in the 8850th, according to the 
unit’s roster, was Eduards Kalinovskis, also a veteran of a Latvian 
police death squad. The senior Latvian officer of the 8361st Com¬ 
pany of Engineers was Janis L. Zegners, who had once been the top 

*Karklins concealed his wartime career at the time he entered the United States. Detailed 
charges concerning Karklins’s role at the Madonna camp were published in English by a 
Latvian state publishing house as early as 1963 and had been available in the Latvian 
language for several years before that. Unfortunately, however, no action was taken against 
Karklins bv American auth orities for more than fiftee n yearj). ” 

Finally, in 1981, the Office^oTSpeciallnvestigations (which had been forced to fight a tough 
bureaucratic battle simply to establish itself within the Department of Justice) succeeded in 
bringing charges against Karklins. In its complaint the OSI alleged that Karklins had “assisted 
in the persecution and murder of unarmed Jewish civilians and committed crimes including 
murder.... During [Karklins’s] tenure as Commandant of this camp, unarmed inmates were 
starved, beaten, tortured, murdered and otherwise brutalized by the defendant and/or by 
persons acting under his direction. . . .” 

Complex litigation ensued, depositions were gathered in Latvia, and thousands of hours 1 
of court and attorney time were consumed. Karklins, however, di ed peacefull y on February j 
9, 1983, Jn Monterey , California, before a decision concerningms deportation from the 
United States could be reached. £7 



144 BLOWBACK 


aide to the inspector general (i.e., commanding officer) of the Lat¬ 
vian SS Legion and deputy warden of the notorious Riga security 
police during the war. At least half a dozen similar cases have come 
to light. 5 

The American recruiters for the Labor Service units knew that 
these highly motivated groups of Eastern European volunteers had 
earlier served in the Nazi Waffen SS, and they knew, at least in 
general terms, what the SS had done in Latvia. At the same time, 
however, the Americans apparently rejected or ignored indications 
that their enlistees had personally committed atrocities, even 
though evidence was readily available. “The Russians had their own 
spies inside the groups who stole the unit rosters and anything else 
they could get their hands on,” states a retired American colonel 
who once headed a Ukrainian-Polish Labor Service unit. “So the 
Russians made plenty of denunciations of my guys. But in those 
days to get denounced by the Communists, well, it probably meant 
they were doing something right for our side.” 6 

Before long the pretense of careful anti-Nazi screening of re¬ 
cruits had been dropped, even in official correspondence. Follow¬ 
ing a routine revision of Labor Service company orders in 1950, 
Colonel C. M. Busbee, the chief of the operation, noticed that the 
wording of a subparagraph in the new orders that barred recruit¬ 
ment of ex-Nazis had been tightened. Busbee wrote to Lieutenant 
General Daniel Noce, chief of staff of the European command, 
pointing out that under the new order, “all former SS officers 
[would be] prohibited from joining labor service units. This policy, 
if continued, would deprive labor services of a considerable num¬ 
ber of these personnel,” Busbee argued, “who were previously 
employed in the Industrial Police and labor service units, and who 
have proved their dependability through efficient service. ... [I] 
request authority to hire former Waffen-SS officer personnel pro¬ 
vided they have been properly screened.” The reply, interestingly, 
came back through civilian rather than military channels. Chaun- 
cey G. Parker, a senior assistant to U.S. High Commissioner for 
Germany Tohn Me Cloy , approved Busbee’s request a few weeks 
later. 7 ^ 

There were at least three layers of secrecy surrounding the Labor 
Service companies and their nuclear mission. The army was reluc¬ 
tant to talk about these units at all, but when questioned about the 
camps full of Latvian-speaking troops marching in close order drill, 



Guerrillas for World War III 145 

it had to provide some sort of explanation. Officially the recruits 
were nothing more than laborers, truck drivers, and warehouse 
guards hired to offset the declining number of U.S. troops in 
Europe. 

The next cover story was known to the Labor Service recruits 
themselves but was kept secret from the general public. This was 
that the companies were trained and armed for counterinsurgency 
work inside Germany in the event of a rebellion or an attack by the 
USSR. “They were,” according to a secret Pentagon study obtained 
through the Freedom of Information Act, “carefully instructed in 
the suppression of civil disturbances ... [and] specifically ... trained 
to secure military installations, such as ammunition dumps, ware¬ 
houses, and food depots, or were schooled in interior guard duty, 
marksmanship, and riot control.” Some 30,000 Labor Service re¬ 
cruits, including those supposedly limited to driving trucks, had 
been fully trained and armed with light infantry weapons and 
che mical warfare gear by 19 50. 8 l 

Finally, there" was^ the higTTTycIassified postnuclear strike mission, 
which was generally kept secret from the recruits themselves. Ap¬ 
proximately 5,000 selected volunteers were trained for the postnu¬ 
clear guerrilla force. As natives of the USSR and Soviet-occupied 
countries, these cold war minutemen spoke the language, knew the 
customs, had military training, and, in some cases, maintained un¬ 
derground contacts that made them seem perfect for guerrilla war¬ 
fare. Before the decade of the 1940s was out, the recruitment of 
Labor Service men, including Waffen SS veterans, for behind-the- 
lines missions into Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe had become 
commonplace. 

In the meantime, the Labor Service militias became a convenient 
holding tank for a variety of emigre agents attached to the Gehlen 
Organization, the CIA, or U.S. military intelligence. They were a 
military reserve, in short, for the ongoing political warfare pro¬ 
grams under the OPC. The 4000th Labor Service Company, for 
example, served as an incubator for 250 Albanian guerrillas en¬ 
gaged in Frank Wisner’s Bay of Pigs-style raids on their homeland 
during 1949 and the early 1950s. 9 These operations were portrayed 
at the time as spontaneous rebellions led on a political level by 
Hasan Dosti and the other Albanian Bloodstone recruits in the 
Committee for a Free Albania. Unfortunately for these emigre sol¬ 
diers, however, both the 4000th Labor Service Company (Guards) 



146 BLOWBACK 


and British intelligence were thoroughly infiltrated by Soviet and 
Albanian Communist agents. The raids were failures. 

In 1950 CIC and CIA agents used the Labor Services cover to 
begin guerrilla training of at least 100 members of the far-right- 
wing League of Young Germans (Bund Deutscher Jungen, or BDJ). 
These “Young Germans” were no Boy Scouts; most were Waffen SS 
and Wehrmacht veterans, according to a later West German gov¬ 
ernment investigation, and a considerable part of the leadership of 
the group had been enthusiastic “Jew baiters” in the Goebbels 
ministry during the Nazis’ rule. 

The budget for the clandestine group was 50,000 deutsche marks 
per month, according to records seized by German police in 1952, 
plus an ample supply of free arms, ammunition, and explosives 
cached in the Odenwald Hills south of Frankfurt. American and 
German advisers provided BDJ agents with extensive military in¬ 
struction, including, as a report in the West German parliament 
later revealed, “use of Russian, United States and German weapons, 
including machine guns, grenades, and knives ... [as well as] light 
infantry weapons and explosives.” The underground group called 
itself a U.S. “Technical Service” unit. 10 

But the training program was only the beginning. BDJ Technical 
Service leaders decided that the best thing they could do for Ger¬ 
many following a Soviet attack was to liquidate certain German 
leaders they regarded as insufficiently anti-Communist. German 
Communists were, of course, at the top of the Technical Service 
assassination list. Next in line for elimination were leaders of West 
Germany’s Social Democratic party, the country’s loyal opposition 
during the Adenauer administration. The Technical Service group 
p lanned to murder more thamfor t v top Soci al Democratic- officials, 
including the party’s national chief, Erich Ollenhauer; the interior 
minister of the state of Hesse, Heinrich Zinnkann; and the mayors 
of Hamburg and Bremen. BDJ’s U.S.-trained ^underground infill. 
trated the Social Democrats to shadow individual party leaders so 
as to kill them more efficiently when the day to act arrived. 

The plot unraveled in late 1952, however, when a chance arrest 
by local police led to discovery of the hit list of Social Democratic 
officials. The CIC’s behavior following this accidental exposure was 
so compromising that it raised serious questions in the German 
parliament whether the U.S. government was aware of the Techni¬ 
cal Service unit’s assassination plans all along. Then again, perhaps 



Guerrillas for World War III 147 


the CIC response to the arrests was just stupid, not a conspiratorial 
cover-up. Either way, American CIC officers took custody of the 
arrested BDJ members and proceeded to hide them from the Ger¬ 
man civil police, who intended to charge the “Young Germans” 
with numerous weapons violations and conspiracy to commit mur¬ 
der. The German chief of the Technical Service unit, an ex-Luft¬ 
waffe man named Gerhard Peters, was placed under wraps for 
almost two weeks in a U.S.-requisitioned building that was off-limits 
to German civil authorities. U.S. CIC agents also seized all the 
remaining Technical Service records that they could lay their hands 
on, then refused to turn the dossiers over to the German equivalent 
of the FBI. 11 

But the cat was out of the bag. Soon Social Democratic deputies 
were demanding investigations and pounding the lecterns in state 
and federal parliaments all over West Germany. Unfortunately for 
the Americans and for the Technical Service, their blunder had 
been discovered in the midst of a closely fought election, and the 
Social Democrats made the most of it. In the end, U.S. authorities 
were forced to confirm, as the New York Times reported, 12 that 
they had “sponsored and helped finance the secret training of 
young Germans, many of them former soldiers, to become guer¬ 
rilla fighters in the event of a war with the Soviet Union.” The 
unnamed American officials told the Times that they had been ^ 
unaware of the group’s “political activities,” including the plan to £> 
assassinate selected German leaders. All funding or other support 
of the BDJ group was said to have been abandoned following the 
arrests. 

In fact, however, the CIC handlers were well aware of at least 
some BDJ “political activities,” like the infiltration of Social Demo¬ 
cratic party conventions, and had been all along. According to the 
later German parliament report on the affair, the American agen¬ 
cies were actually paying the plotters an additional 12,000 deutsche 
marks per month for these espionage services. 13 

But the assertions of U.S. ignorance concerning the hit list of 
Social Democratic leaders are probably true. American clandestine 
policy toward Social Democratic parties in Europe at the time 
appears to have consisted of the collection of espionage information 
on their activities, plus a carrot-and-stick type of patronage along , 
th e lines of the It aljarusleGtioft m odel —not the wholesale assassina- 
tion of their leaders. 14 Indeed, the very amateurishness of compil- / k 
ing a written list of forty prominent targets suggests that Technical 



148 BLOWBACK 


Service chief Peters may very well have kept that activity secret 
from the Americans. 

In a certain sense, that is just the problem. U.S. intelligence was 
financing, training, and arming a squadron of former WaflFen SS and 
Wehrmacht soldiers with about $500,000 per year—and that’s in 
1951 dollars—and they still could credibly claim that they did not 
know what their own contract agents were up to. This, moreover, 
was inside West Germany, where U.S. officials enjoyed enormous 
influence within the government, where telephones could be 
tapped with impunity, and where U.S. agents moved without re¬ 
straint. This “command breakdown” is a clear indication of just how 
little real control U.S. intelligence had over many of its far-flung 
paramilitary operations and how carelessly it was willing to spend 
money. 


The question of U.S. use of former Nazi collaborators in assassina¬ 
tions is important, and not just because of the obvious damage that 
the Technical Service imbroglio did to U.S. relations with Ger¬ 
many’s influential Social Democrats. Few subjects are more deeply 
clothed in mystery than this one, and the evidence concerning how 
Ui^ja^ssmationj^ the cold w arjind \vdio 

was responsible for them is inevitably scattered and fragmentary] 
AlFthaT^arTbe^^aid with certainty is that su ch murders did take 
plac e^and that in some cases former Nazi collaborators were instru¬ 
mental in carrying them out. 

To put the case most bluntly, many American clandestine war¬ 
fare specialists believed that the most “productive”—and least 
compromising—method of killing foreign officials was to under¬ 
write the discontent of indigenous groups and let them take the 
risks. 15 American intelligence agencies’ use of this technique ap¬ 
pears to have originated in operations during World War II, when 
the OSS supplied thousands of cheap pistols to partisans in France 
and Yugoslavia specifically for assassination of collaborators and 
German officials. (According to Pentagon records, 16 the OSS also 
air-dropped these weapons in areas where there were no significant 
rebel forces so that the Nazis, upon finding the guns, would tighten 
the screws on local populations and thereby produce new anti-Nazi 
partisans.) 

The concepts of maintaining “plausible deniability’’ f or the act ual 
mur der and of t he expandability oFffieTciHers thems elvesjire a key 



Guerrillas for World War III 149 

to understandi ng U.S. assassination tech iiiques. In most cases, it 
appearsdoliavelDeen neither necessary nor practical for U.S. intelli¬ 
gence officers to give precise instructions for murder. Instead, the 
OPC gave directions to commit assassinations to guerrilla move¬ 
ments in the same simple, sweeping terms that had been used in 
wartime Yugoslavia. U.S. intelligence encouraged insurgents to 
“eliminat[e] the command and other dangerous personnel of the 
MVD and the MGB [the Soviet secret police],” as the psychological 
warfare appendix to a Pentagon war plan put it in 1948. Other 
assigned tasks under the Halfmoon war plan, as it was known, 
included “organizing] for the destruction of industry, communica¬ 
tions and other factors in Soviet war-making capacity”; “engaging] 
in sabotage wherever and whenever it disrupts enemy action”; and 
“creating] panic and terror.” 17 

Several organizations of former Nazi collaborators were ready to 
undertake such slayings on a major scale. Covert operations chief 
Wisner estimated in 1951 that some 35,000 Soviet police troops and 
Communist party cadres had been eliminated by guerrillas con¬ 
nected with the Nazi collaborationist OUN/UPA in the Ukraine 
since the end of the war, 18 and that does not include casualties from 
other insurgencies in Lithuania and the Muslim regions of the USSIL 
that were also receiving aid from t he United States and Britain,, 

These shotgun-style killings and guerrilla actions account for the 
large majority of murders carried out with U.S. assistance in Europe 
during the cold war. It is inappropriate, of course, to lay responsi¬ 
bility for all these deaths at the feet of the CIA. The rebellions 
against Soviet rule were not initiated by the agency; they exploded 
inside the country out of discontents that were bound to give rise 
to violent resistance. Still, it is clear that CIA aid sustained such 
rebellions longer and made them more deadly to all concerned 
than they might otherwise have been. Moreover, these widespread 
shotgun-style slayings served as cover for a jan aller numb e r of spe ¬ 
cific individual assassination s that appearH:o have b een directl y 
ordered by U.S. intelligenc e officers. 

Former Nazi collaborators made excellent executioners in such 
instances, because of both their wartime training and the fact that 
the U.S. government could plausibly deny any knowledge of their 
activities. Suspected double agents were the most common targets 
for execution. “In the international clandestine operations business, 
it was part of the code that the one and only remedy for the un- 



150 BLOWBACK 


frocked double agent was to kill him” (emphasis added), the CIA’s 
director of operations planning during the Truman administration 
testified before Congress in 1976, “and all double agents knew 
that. That was part of the occupational hazard of the job.” The 
former director, whom the government declines to identify, also 
claimed, however, that he didn’t recall any executions of double 
agents actually occurring during his tenure there. 19 It is under¬ 
standable that he might fail to remember any executions; for ad¬ 
mitting a role in such killings could well lead to arrest and prose¬ 
cution for conspiracy to commit murder in Europe, if not in the 
United States itself.* 

“We kept personnel at several air bases around the world for 
these types of missions,” says Colonel Prouty, who was responsible 
for U.S. Air Force air support of CIA missions overseas, including 
the delivery of agents to their targets and subsequent evacuation 
measures. “Some of these guys were the best commercial hit men 
you have ever heard of. [They were] mechanics, killers. They were 
Ukrainians, mainly, and Eastern Europeans, Greeks, and some 
Scotsmen. I don’t know how the Scotsmen got in there, but there 
they were. None of them were American citizens.” Prouty asserts 
that teams of such “mechanics” were used in cross-border infiltra¬ 
tions, in highly dangerous rescues of American agents inside the 
USSR and China, and in^spec ial mur ders.?According to Prouty, 
there was no clear policy concerning the use of killing. “It was an 
ad hoc event, and it [the actual assassination] was done by third 
parties. If it had to be done in Yugoslavia, for example, it was set 
up with exile Yugoslavians or the [emigre] Polish groups. The [U.S.] 

*Unfrocked double agents were also tortured—there is no other word for it—in so-called 
terminal medical experiments sponsored by the army, navy, and CIA. These tests fed massive 
quantities of convulsant and psychedelic drugs to foreign prisoners in an attempt to make 
them talk, according to CIA records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by 
author John Marks. The CIA also explored use of psychosurgery and repeated electric shocks 
directly into the brain. 

Then CIA Director Richard Helms ordered the destruction of all records of these “experi¬ 
ments” in the midst of Watergate and congressional investigations that threatened to bring 
to light the agency’s practices in this field. A cache of papers that he accidentally missed was 
found some years later, however, and the agency has since been forced to make public 
sanitized versions of some of those records. It is now known that similar agency tests with 
LSD led to the suicide of an army employee, Frank Olson, and are alleged to have perma¬ 
nently damaged a group of unsuspecting psychiatric patients at a Canadian clinic whose 
director was working under CIA contract. The agency unit that administered this program 
was the same Directorate of Scientific Research that developed the exotic poisons used in 
attempted assassinations of Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba. 



Guerrillas for World War III 151 

Army had by far the best assets” for this type of thing, he states, but 
“on the operational level there was good cooperation with the air 
force, CIA, and army.” Many of the Eastern Europeans, he says, 
were Nazi collaborators during the war. 20 

Several such killings did take place during the late 1940s under 
Operations Hagberry and Lithia, both of which were approved at 
senior levels of the Pentagon. These two instances, furthermore, 
must be considered only the documented examples of a more wide¬ 
spread practice. Hagberry required, according to army records, the 
“liquidation of the Chikalov Ring, a possible Soviet intelligence net 
operating within the U.S. zone of Germany.” And Lithia, which 
began under army auspices in November 1947, authorized “liqui¬ 
dation in [the] United States Zone [of Germany] of the Kunder- 
mann Ring, a large scale Czechoslovakian intelligence net.” 21 Army 
intelligence believed that the Chikalov Ring and the Kundermann 
organization had managed to plant double agents in certain emigre 
espionage networks that were being jointly managed by the United 
States and Britain under still another code-named project, Opera¬ 
tion Rusty, and it is those agents who were marked for “liquida¬ 
tion.” Army spokesmen today claim with shrugs of their shoulders 
that all further files concerning Hagberry and Lithia have simply 
disappeared. No further information is available, they say, and 
there is no indication of who withdrew the Hagberry and Lithia 
files or when they vanished. 

Other people were murdered gangland-style during Operation 
Ohio, according to published reports in the United States. 22 Ohio 
employed a squad of Ukrainian ex-Nazis to carry out at least twenty 
murders in a displaced persons camp at Mittenwald, south of Mu¬ 
nich. The Army CIC and later the CIA are reported to have 
financed this squad for strong-arm work against double agents, So¬ 
viet spies, and similar undesirables. The fragmentary evidence still 
available suggests that most of the squad’s victims were double 
agents whose deaths—when they became public at all—were at¬ 
tributed to factional violence among rival right-wing Ukrainian 
emigre groups. 

“We were just out of World War Two, and we were using those 
[wartime] tactics,” says Franklin Lindsay, the former CIA/OPC 
paramilitary expert. “In my case, I had operated only in wartime 
conditions. Given the feeling that we were very near war at that 
time, one tended to operate in the same way as in wartime.” 23 



152 BLOWBACK 


Lindsay, however, rejects the term assassination as a description of 
CIA/OPC practice during his tenure there.* 

The records of Operation Bloodstone add an important new 
piece of information to one of the most explosive public issues of 
today: the role of the U.S. government—specifically the CIA—in 
assassinations and attempted assassinations of foreign officials. Ac¬ 
cording to a 1976 Senate investigation, a key official of Operation 
Bloodstone is the OPC officer who was specifically delegated re¬ 
sponsibility for planning the agency’s assassinations, kidnappings, 
and similar “wet work.” 24 

Colonel Boris Pash, one of the most extraordinary and least 
known characters in American intelligence history, completes the 
circle of U.S. agents, Nazi collaborators, and “mechanics” involved 
in these highly sensitive affairs. Pash is not a Nazi, nor is there any 
evidence that he is sympathetic to Nazis. But his work for U.S. 
intelligence agencies places him in the critical office given the re¬ 
sponsibility for planning postwar assassination operations. 

Pash, now in his eighties, looks much like a bespectacled retired 
high school teacher. That’s not surprising. He ta ught gy m at Holly- 
wood High School for a decade prior to World War II. HeTisTmod- 
est—even shy, some might say—with a gravelly voice and a cautious 
manner born of a lifetime of keeping secrets. Politically Pash re¬ 
mains loyal to the legacy of General Douglas MacArthur, with 
whom he served in occupied Japan. Colonel Pash is one of the few 
remaining originals of U.S. intelligence, and his experience in 
“fighting the Communists” goes back to the 1917 Russian Revolu¬ 
tion. He was in Moscow and Eastern Europe in those days with his, 
father ^a missionary o f Russian extraction, and the young Pash spent 
riniucKof the Soviet civil war working on the side of the White 
armies, then with czarist refugees who had fled their country. In 
the 1920s Pash signed on as a reserve officer with the U.S. military 
intelligence service, and he maintained the affiliation throughout 
his years at Hollywood High. He was called to active duty in the first 


*The USSR, too, made substantial use of assassination as a political tool during the cold war. 
To name only one example, KGB agent Bogdan Stashinsky murdered emigre OUN leaders 
Lev Rebet (in October 1957) and Stepan Bandera (in October 1959) with poisonous chemical 
gas guns. Soviet president Kliment Y. Voroshilov awarded Stashinsky the Red Banner Com¬ 
bat Order for his efforts. 

Stashinsky defected to the West after the Bandera murder, bringing with him the Voro¬ 
shilov award and the chemical pistol as proof of the deed. The assassin, interestingly enough, 
claimed he had been recruited by the Soviet security police on the basis of threats against 
family members who had once collaborated with the Nazis. 



Guerrillas for World War III 153 

days of the Second World War, played a role in the internment of 
Japanese civilians in California, and was soon assigned as chief coun¬ 
terintelligence officer on the Manhattan Project, the supersecret 
U.S. effort to develop the atomic bomb. (More than a decade later 
it was Colonel Pash’s testimony that helped seal the fate of scientist 
Robert Oppenheimer in the well-known 1954 security case.) Before 
the war was out, it will be recalled, Colonel Pash led the series of 
celebrated special operations known as the Alsos Mission that were 
designed to capture the best atomic and chemical warfare experts 
that the Nazis had to offer. 25 

After the war Colonel Pash served as the army’s representative 
on Bloodstone in the spring of 1948, when the tasks of that project, 
including recruiting defectors, smuggling refugees out from behind 
the Iron Curtain, and assassinations, were established. Bloodstone’s 
“special operations,” as defined by the Pentagon, could “include 
clandestine warfare, subversion, sabotage and . . . assassination,” 
according to the 1948 Joint Chiefs of Staff records. 26 In March 1949, 
Pash was assigned by the army to the OPC division of the CIA. 
There, according to State Department records, his responsibilities 
included many of the functions originally approved under the 
Bloodstone program. 

At the CIA Boris Pash became an administrator and organizer, as 
distinct from a field operative. His five-man CIA unit, known as 
PB/7, was given a written charter that read in part that “PB/7 will 
be responsible for assassinations, kidnapping, and such other func¬ 
tions as from time to time may be given it... by higher authority.” 27 
Pash’s fluency in Russian, his skill in dealing with Bloodstone 
emigres, and his solid connections in anti-Communist exile circles 
were valuable assets in that job. Indeed, those qualifications—along 
with his sterling record as a counterintelligence officer—may well 
have been what led to his selection as PB/7 chief. 

As with so many other aspects of the history of U.S. intelligence, 
the evidence here must be carefully sifted. Pash himself denies 
involvement in the Bloodstone program, asserting that he has “no 
recollection” of Bloodstone or of “anything like that.” 28 However, 
documents establishing his participation in Bloodstone and PB/7 
are now a matter of public record. 29 

Pash did testify before Congress in 1976 that his responsibilities 
at the CIA included planning for defections from Communist coun¬ 
tries, facilitating the escape of prominent political refugees, and 
disseminating anti-Communist propaganda behind the Iron Cur- 



154 BLOWBACK 


tain—all of which were clearly Bloodstone activities. Pash’s supervi¬ 
sor at the CIA (who is not identified in the hearing record) offered 
further details concerning some of the less savory aspects of emigre 
operations during the 1940s that coincide with what is known of 
Bloodstone. Pash’s PB/7, the supervisor said, was responsible for 
“kidnapping personages from behind the Iron Curtain . . . [includ¬ 
ing] kidnapping people whose interests were inimicable to ours.” 30 

Much of the documentary evidence concerning what PB/7 did 
during the first years of the CIA has disappeared, leaving both 
Congress and the general public with many unanswered questions 
concerning U.S. operations among emigres during the cold war. 
The CIA claimed in 1976 that it had “no record of documents which 
deal with this aspect [i.e., assassinations] of Pash’s unit” and that 
even the office’s charter was missing. Colonel Pash himself insisted 
in congressional testimony that he did not “believe” that he had any 
involvement in or responsibility for planning or conducting assassi¬ 
nations. He also testified that he had no recollection of the language 
of the charter of PB/7, the CIA office of which he had been in 
charge. 31 

Despite the mysterious disappearance of the PB/7 records while 
in the hands of the CIA, the chain of circumstantial evidence con¬ 
cerning some Bloodstone emigres’ roles in paramilitary, kidnap¬ 
ping, and assassination operations abroad is too strong to be easily 
dismissed. First, there is the incriminating Pentagon document, 
quoted above, which indicates that paramilitary operations, assassi¬ 
nations, and kidnappings were an explicit mission of the Bloodstone 
program from its beginning. 

Secondly, at least one key Bloodstone official, Boris Pash, was 
active in Bloodstone’s early phases in mid-1948, then became chief 
of the OPC office responsible for planning paramilitary operations, 
assassinations, and kidnappings at about the time that control of 
“politico-psychological” and paramilitary operations was passed 
from the Bloodstone committee to the OPC. 

Thirdly, at least some Bloodstone emigres with backgrounds as 
Nazi collaborators—former Albanian Minister of Justice Hasan 
Dosti, for example—went on to become deeply involved in clandes¬ 
tine operations that did indeed involve paramilitary operations, 
murders, and unconsummated plans for assassinations, such as the 
1949 and 1950 secret raids on Albania designed to overthrow the 
government. (Dosti did not participate in the actual field opera¬ 
tions. But the organization he led, the Committee for a Free Al- 



Guerrillas for World War III 155 

bania, served as a “private” cover for the Albanian guerrillas, who 
were, in fact, organized and financed by the OPC.) 

Fourthly—and perhaps coincidentally—certain Soviet spies, dou¬ 
ble agents, and “people whose interests were inimicable” to those 
of the CIA were marked for death by the agency. Pash’s immediate 
superiors in the OPC acknowledge that the “one and only remedy” 
for Communist double agents was to murder them. According to 
published reports in the United States, 32 persons accused of being 
Soviet or East bloc agents were in fact killed during this period by 
former Nazi collaborators at Mittenwald and in other displaced 
persons camps, though under mysterious circumstances that have 
never been clearly traced back to the OPC. 

In the opinion of the author, the early Bloodstone operations 
played a significant role in laying the groundwork for what one 
Senate investigator later called “a procedure [within the CIA] 
which, although not spelled out in so many words, was generally 
understood and served as the basis to plan or otherwise contem¬ 
plate political assassination.” 33 The killings of minor double agents 
in German DP camps were murders and deserve to be investigated 
as such. More significant, however, is what these otherwise obscure 
c rimes appear to have foreshadowed: Before the decade of the 
1950s was out, the CIA is known to have e stablished mec hanisms 
fo cusing “deniable” assets and emigres for th e e xecution of jie ads 
of st ate and other int ernatio nal leaders J hese later killings, which 
are arguably the mosFsenoiTs blunders ever made by the CIA, have 
created blowback problems on an international scale and have had 
a significant and generally negative effect on the lives of millions of 
people. 



CHAPTER TWELVE 


“Any Bastard as Long as He’s 
Anti-Communist’’ 


The more deeply American agencies became involved in relations 
with the exile groups, the more rapidly myths grew up around 
those organizations concerning what they had actually done during 
the war. The common theme of those stories is the tragic heroism 
of the defectors from the Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Eastern 
Europe who chose to fight Stalin by joining the Nazis. That proposi¬ 
tion was (and is) often accompanied by the assertion that damaging 
statements about these emigres are nothing more than Soviet prop¬ 
aganda. 

The standard version of that saga and the political use to which 
it was put during the cold war is perhaps best illustrated by a 1949 
Life magazine article by noted journalist and psychological warfare 
expert Wallace Carroll, who argued that during the war “the Ger¬ 
mans had millions of eager accomplices in Russia . . . [who] wel¬ 
comed them as liberators and offered their cooperation.” Unfortu¬ 
nately the Nazis let “this chance slip through their hands” because 
of Hitler’s racial policy and the German government’s refusal to 
implement fully a political warfare program when the time was 
ripe. Hans Heinrich Herwarth and Ernst Kostring’s political war¬ 
fare tactics, when attempted, were “a phenomenal success,” ac¬ 
cording to Carroll. “There was no Partisan movement in their area 
... [and] no sabotage, and the peasants fulfilled the German requisi- 


156 




Any Bastard as Long as He's Anti-Communist ” 


157 


tions of farm products on schedule.” The attribution of atrocities to 
these troops, as well as the numerous pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic 
periodicals published by the Vlasov organization during the war, 
were “forgeries [which] Soviet propagandists shrewdly attributed 
to Vlasov’s forces.” These “facts,” Carroll writes, had been “known 
for a long time to the Russian experts of the State Department and 
to a small number of American officers” and were now a “lesson 
which we must learn without delay.” 1 Carroll’s 1949 conclusion 
was, in part, that America needed to embrace the former Nazi 
collaborators as a central tactic in a comprehensive strategy of 
political warfare against the Soviets. 

The fact that Carroll was a psychological warfare consultant to 
the U.S. Army at the time he penned this narrative was acknowl¬ 
edged by Life’s editors. Indeed, they even included a special intro¬ 
duction that billed Carroll’s work for the army as a “perceptive and 
fresh standpoint from which to re-examine U.S. strategic plan¬ 
ning.” 2 

The 1949 publication of Carroll’s article marked a new stage in 
the development of U.S. political warfare tactics and in the blow- 
back effect that these operations were beginning to have at home. 
Up until then every effort had been made to keep secret the in¬ 
creasingly warm relations between U.S. intelligence agencies and 
emigres who had once collaborated with the Nazis. The U.S. press 
had frequently presented heroic accounts of anti-Communist and 
anti-Nazi emigres, such as deposed Hungarian leader Ferenc Nagy 
or Polish anti-Nazi underground chief Stefan Korbonski, who had 
fled from Eastern Europe after the Soviet occupation of the region. 
Carroll’s article took this publicity an important step further: Nazi 
collaborators could be considered heroes of a sort, too, as long as 
they had fought against Stalin. Though not stated directly, the im¬ 
plication of Carroll’s thesis was that the United States should en¬ 
courage wide participation of Vlasov Army and Eastern Waffen SS 
veterans in U.S.-sponsored anti-Communist coalitions and political 
warfare projects. 

Wallace Carroll was certainly not the first American to advocate 
these ideas. George Kennan, Charles Thayer, and other national 
security experts had been promoting them inside the government 
for several years by the time his article was published. The promi¬ 
nent endorsement^giyen to these theories jw the mass chcufaHon 
LfFlffixgazine, however, is an indication of the degree to which 



158 


BLOWBACK 


revisionist theories on the character of the Nazi s' eastern legions 
^ yere already e nterin g the mainstream of Am erican political 
though t. ^ 

Noted American scholars picked up much of the same theme 
during the intense cold war years of the late 1940s and early 1950s. 
This trend can be seen even in the work of careful scholars such as 
Alexander Dallin, who has produced some of the most sophisticated 
analyses of Soviet aflFairs available. During the cold war years he 
prepared a massive study titled German Rule in Russia with the 
cooperation of U.S. intelligence agencies. This work has been con¬ 
sidered the classic presentation of the Nazis' use of collaborators in 
the East practically from the day it was published, yet it mentions 
the role of Nazi collaborators in crimes against humanity and the 
Holocaust only in passing. Dallin acknowledges that this was an 
important oversight. Were he to write the text today, he has com¬ 
mented, he would “dwell at greater length on the ‘Final Solution' 
to the Jewish Question, not only because it sealed the fate of sub¬ 
stantial numbers of Soviet citizens but more generally because it 
was part of the context in which decisions relating to the ‘East’ were 
being made in Nazi Germany." 3 Overall, the role of the German 
political warfare group and their collaborators in crimes against 
humanity was generally either denounced as Soviet propaganda (as 
by Carroll) or largely passed over (Dallin). The German political 
warriors themselves, who produced a flood of memoirs and histories 
after the war blaming Hitler for the German defeat, consistently 
denied any knowledge of the atrocities of the war. 

A review of the more popular histories of the war published in 
the West during those years, with a few lonely exceptions, leaves 
the distinct impression that the savageries of the Holocaust were 
strictly the SS's responsibility, and not all of the SS at that. The 
defector troops of World War II—the Russian Vlasov Army, the 
Ukrainian OUN/UPA, even the nazified SS volunteers from Latvia 
and other Baltic countries—were frequently portrayed as anti- 
Communist patriots despite their German uniforms. The SS and 
Wehrmacht officers who commanded them (despite their Nazi 
party memberships and their steady advances up the career ladder 
in the German government) were really anti-Nazis or even just 
plain democrats who had somehow wound up in uniform through 
an unfortunate quirk of fate—or so the story went. 

This bogus history is important because it became, as Carroll’s 



159 


“Any Bastard as Long as He's Anti-Communist" 

article illustrates, the basic cover story jbijihe Nazi u tili zation pro¬ 
grams of the U.S. governmenF arwelTas for many of the individual 
Germans and Eastern European defectors employed in these pro¬ 
grams. Like any good propaganda, there is some truth to the ver¬ 
sion of events presented by those authors. But a review of the 
evidence presented at war crimes trials in Nuremberg, from cap¬ 
tured war records and interrogation of POWs, would lead most 
people to quite a different conclusion concerning the role of the 
Nazis’ political warfare specialists in the Holocaust and about the 
actual character of some of the men who were enlisted by 
the United States after the war. 

The postwar myths of anti-Stalin, anti-Hitler nationalism among 
the Nazis’ armies of defectors had a distinct utilitarian value for the 
American government during the cold war. These stories permit¬ 
ted more or less satisfying answers to nagging questions concerning 
the character of certain emigre political organizations whose 
American sponsorship could not always be successfully disguised. 
Rewriting the history of the Vlasov Army and other defector troops 
into a tale of idealistic (though tragic) opposition to Stalin made it 
easier for U.S. policymakers and intelligence officers to avoid com¬ 
ing to grips with the fact that there were war criminals among 
America’s new recruits. 

But those U.S. officers who were sufficiently honest with them¬ 
selves—and sufficiently well informed about covert CIA and mili¬ 
tary intelligence operations—did know that former Nazis and col¬ 
laborators were at the heart of many American clandestine warfare 
efforts of the period. 

‘‘We knew what we were doing,” says Harry Rositzke, the CIA’s 
former head of secret operations inside the USSR. “It was a visceral 
business of using any bastard as long as he was anti-Communist 
. . . [and] the eagerness or desire to enlist collaborators meant that 
sure, you didn’t look at their credentials too closely.” 4 

Franklin Lindsay, who headed CIA paramilitary and guerrilla 
operations in Eastern Europe in the early 1950s, also acknowledges 
that a substantial number of the emigres trained and financed by 
the CIA during those years had been Nazi collaborators. “Was it 
right?” he asked during an interview with the author. “That de¬ 
pends on your time horizon. We thought war could be six months 
away. You have to remember that in those days even men such as 
George Kennan believed that there was a fifty-fifty chance of war 



160 


BLOW BACK 


with the Soviets within six months. We did a lot of things in 
the short term that might not look wise from a long-term point of 
view. . . . We were under tremendous pressure,” he continued, “to 
do something, do anything to prepare for war.” 5 

An important example of these preparations for an all-out war 
with the USSR was the U.S. role in a guerrilla war that was then 
simmering in the Ukraine, an ethnically distinct region near the 
present Soviet-Polish border. Anti-Communist guerrillas led by the 
Ukrainian nationalist organization OUN were particularly strong in 
the western Ukraine, which is also known as Galicia. 

The western Ukraine is a long-disputed territory that has 
changed hands among the Russians, Germans, Poles, and—briefly— 
the Ukrainians themselves at least a dozen times over the last few 
centuries. Most of the region had been controlled by Poland be¬ 
tween World Wars I and II, but the Soviets claimed it as their own 
following the Russian invasion of eastern Poland under the 1939 
Hitler-Stalin pact. The Nazis occupied the area for most of the war; 
but once the conflict was over, the Soviets moved the borders of the 
USSR westward into Poland, and the Galician territory was again 
abruptly incorporated into the USSR itself. 

That development seriously threatened wealthy peasants, land¬ 
lords, and church leaders in the region, for obvious reasons. At the 
same time much of the ethnic Ukrainian population resented the 
authority of the new Russian-dominated power structure. These 
forces combined to provide a narrow but real base of support for 
a continuing rebellion led by the extreme-right-wing Organization 
of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its militia force, UPA, which 
had frequently collaborated with the Nazis during the German 
occupation. The small circle of U.S. policymakers responsible for 
guidance of U.S. clandestine operations during the late 1940s be¬ 
came fascinated by the scope of this postwar Ukrainian rebellion. 
Here, at last, it seemed, was a movement that was really standing 
up to the Russians. 

The relationship between the Ukrainian nationalists and the 
Nazis had been complex, and most postwar commentators have 
chosen to emphasize the aspect that best suits their own point of 
view. To Soviet commentators, the OUN and the UPA were Nazi 
collaborators, period. 6 Many Western commentators, on the other 
hand, contend that they were instead a “third force” during World 
War II that had actually favored democracy, national indepen- 



161 


“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 

dence, and other Western-style values. 7 Both these positions ob¬ 
scure the truth. 

The roots of the OUN/UPA may be traced to the militantly anti- 
Communist and nationalist Ukrainian underground founded by 
Colonel Eugen Konovalets in the 1920s, when much of the region 
was under the Polish flag. Its program consisted primarily of a 
demand for independence for the Ukraine, frequently supple¬ 
mented by a virulent anti-Russian and anti-Semitic racism. Al¬ 
though certainly opposed to Stalinism, the group was itself totalitar¬ 
ian and Fascist in character, with strong links to the German 
intelligence service of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. 8 

OUN activists had been in the business of assassination and terror 
since the earliest days of the group and were responsible for the 
1934 murder of Polish Interior Minister General Bronislav Pieracki, 
among others. The League of Nations had publicly condemned the 
OUN as a terrorist syndicate for organizing that killing, and Polish 
courts had handed down death sentences (later commuted to life 
imprisonment) to OUN leaders Mykola Lebed and Stepan Bandera 
for their roles in that crime. Both men were freed, however, in the 
confusion that followed the German and Soviet invasions of Poland 
in 1939. Once out of prison, Lebed entered a Gestapo police school 
near Krakow, while Bandera organized OUN sympathizers into 
armed squadrons under an Abwehr program code-named Nach- 
tigall , 9 or Nightingale. 

The Nazis poured money and arms into the OUN during the two 
years leading up to the Germans’ 1941 invasion of the USSR. Spe¬ 
cially trained OUN police troops traveled with the German forces 
during the opening months of the invasion, providing intelligence, 
creating local quisling administrations in areas under Nazi occupa¬ 
tion, and playing an active role in the roundups and murders of 
Jews. Captured German records make clear that the Nazis consid¬ 
ered the OUN their pawn. 

But the OUN itself had bigger ambitions. It wished to be the 
government of the Ukraine, which it envisioned as an ally of Ger¬ 
many, equal in status to Hungary or Romania. This was to be an 
independent Fascist country whose program included, as the 
OUN’s chief political officer Wolodymyr Stachiw wrote to Adolf 
Hitler in the midst of the German invasion, the “consolidation of 
the new ethnic order in Eastern Europe [volkische Neuordnung in 
Osteuropa ]” and the “destruction of the seditious Jewish-Bolshevist 
influence.” Writing directly on behalf of the OUN chief Stepan 



162 BLOWSACK 


Bandera, Staehliw appealed to Hitler (the “champion of the ethnic 
principle,” in Stachiw’s words) to “support our ethnic struggle 
[volkischen Kampf ].” 10 

But Hitler had no intention of accepting an alliance of equals 
with persons he considered Slavic “subhumans.” He double-crossed 
and arrested a number of OUN leaders who insisted on more auton¬ 
omy than he was willing to give. At this point a still more complica¬ 
ted relationship between the Nazis and the OUN emerged. OUN 
activists continued to play major roles in local quisling governments 
and in Nazi-sponsored police and militia groups, although the OUN 
organization as such was banned. These German-sponsored police 
and militia formations, in turn, were deeply involved in thousands 
of instances of mass murders of Jews and of families suspected of 
aiding Red Army partisans. Meanwhile, the then underground 
OUN leadership organized an anti-Communist guerrilla force 
known as the Ukrainska Povstancha Armia (Ukrainian Insurgent 
Army), or UPA, in order to continue to pursue its plan for an inde¬ 
pendent Ukraine. The UPA, according to its own account, did much 
of its recruiting among the genocidal Nazi-sponsored police groups, 
on the theory that those already armed and trained men would 
make the best soldiers. While the UPA insurgents did occasionally 
clash with the Germans, their true target was the Red Army, which 
was viewed as the greater danger to Ukrainian independence. 11 

Late in the war the Germans became sufficiently desperate that 
they reestablished a more or less formal “alliance” with a quisling 
Ukrainian national committee headed by Pavlo Shandruk, an aging 
Ukrainian-Polish general who had been a war hero during World 
War I. 12 This propaganda gesture was accompanied by accelerated 
German recruitment of Ukrainians from the police groups into the 
Waffen SS, and by increased cooperation with the underground 
OUN/UPA leadership in a secret program that the SS-designated 
Operation Sonnenblume (Sunflower). According to U.S. interroga¬ 
tions of SS RSHA Amt VI clandestine operations chief Otto 
Skorzeny and his adjutant Karl Radi, Amt VI organized Sonnen¬ 
blume in 1944 to coordinate German and OUN efforts during the 
Nazis’ retreat from Russia. 13 

Thousands of tons of arms, ammunition, and other war materiel 
abandoned by the Nazis were consigned to underground OUN-led 
troops, Skorzeny told the Americans. The deal proved to be an 
astute investment for the Germans. The OUN/UPA succeeded in 
tying down some 200,000 Red Army troops and killing more than 



“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist ” 163 

7,000 Soviet officers 14 during the Wehrmacht’s disordered flight 
across Europe during 1944 and 1945. 

The case of the OUN illustrates the complexity of the real-world 
relationships between Berlin and its collaborators on the eastern 
front. The OUN was not a puppet of the Germans in the same sense 
that the Vlasov Army was, but it did knowingly ally itself with the 
Nazis whenever it could. Whatever its conflicts with the Nazis may 
have been, the OUN’s own role in anti-Semitic pogroms—such as 
the mass murders in Lvov in 1941—and in the Lidice-style extermi¬ 
nations of entire villages accused of cooperating with Soviet parti¬ 
sans has been well established. Many OUN members committed 
serious crimes during the war, and the primary victims of their 
excesses were their own countrymen. 

As the Germans were driven out of the Ukraine in 1944, many 
OUN members who had served the Nazis in local militias, police 
departments, and execution squads fled with them. At least 40,000 
other OUN-led partisans, however, retreated to the craggy Carpa¬ 
thian Mountains, where they hid out, waiting for the Red Army 
front to pass. It was this group that served as the backbone of the 
Ukrainian rebellion that fascinated the American security experts 
during the late 1940s. 

The convicted assassin Mykola Lebed emerged after the war as 
one of the United States’ most important agents inside the OUN/ 
UPA. His case is of interest here, because it illustrates the manner 
in which the CIA recruited Nazi collaborators after the war and 
how it smuggled a number of the top leaders of the OUN/UPA into 
the United States. 

As noted above, Lebed entered the Gestapo’s training school in 
Krakow in 1939. The Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem contain a 
detailed description of Lebed’s activities at that center that was 
provided by Mykyta Kosakivs’kyy, a former OUN functionary who 
worked under Lebed’s command at Krakow but who broke with 
him after the war. As Kosakivs’kyy tells it, Lebed personally led the 
torture and murder of captured Jews at Krakow as a means of 
“hardening” his men against bloodshed. 15 (Lebed himself acknowl¬ 
edges that he was active in the Gestapo center but denies he took 
part in torture or murder.) 

According to U.S. Army intelligence records obtained through 
the Freedom of Information Act, the OUN appointed Lebed 
“Home Secretary and Police Minister” in the Nazi quisling govern- 



164 BLOWBACK 


ment in Lvov, the temporary capital of the Ukraine during the 
German invasion in 1941. 16 There OUN police and militia made a 
horrifying discovery in the first days of the invasion. The retreating 
Soviet secret police, they learned, had massacred more than 2,000 
unarmed Ukrainian nationalist prisoners in cold blood in Lvov jails, 
then sealed up the rotting corpses in underground chambers while 
the NKVD agents made their escape. 

The Soviets, for their part, have long claimed that the murders 
of the nationalists in Lvov were actually committed by the Nazis. 
Eyewitness testimony, however, refutes that contention. Either 
way, the atrocity provided a convenient pretext for an OUN-led 
pogrom against local Jews, who were accused of aiding the Soviets 
during the arrests of Ukrainians prior to the Nazi invasion. Ukrain¬ 
ian nationalist propaganda whipped the population into a fury 
against Jews and anyone suspected of Communist sympathies. Po¬ 
lice and militia forces presumably under the command of the Police 
Minister, Mykola Lebed, remained busy day and night with mass 
roundups of unarmed men and women, public hangings, beatings, 
and other abuse. Lvov’s Jews were arrested, tortured, and shot in 
large numbers by both OUN troops and Nazi Einsatzkommando 
murder squads. “Long Live Adolf Hitler and [OUN leader] Stepan 
Bandera!” was among the most popular slogans, according to eye¬ 
witnesses. “Death to the Jews and the Communists!” 17 

The killings of these people during these first weeks after the 
German invasion must have seemed almost carnivallike to some; 
they were a drunken orgy of violence and a celebration of newly 
seized power. Resistance was crushed through open terror. OUN 
police and militiamen raped Polish and Jewish women with impu¬ 
nity; Polish professors were rounded up, beaten, then executed; 
and Ukrainian nationalist extremists assisted in mass executions of 
Jews near the gasworks on the outskirts of town. At least 7,000 
unarmed Jewish men and women were rounded up and executed 
in the weeks that followed, according to Nazi Einsatzgruppen re¬ 
ports, and this number does not include those who were shot or 
beaten to death during civilian pogroms.* 18 

*Lebeds version of these events is considerably different. In a series of interviews with 
the author Lebed contended that he arrived in Lvov on July 3, several days after the German 
invasion. He was not police minister, he says, but instead was “responsible to help transfer 
members of our organization further east, in march groups.” He acknowledges that he was 
“number three” in the Ukrainian government but denies that he had any official title. He 
attributes any slayings of Jews that took place during that period to the Soviet NKVD and 
says that the hangings of Polish intellectuals was the work of the German SD, not Ukrainian 



“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist ” 165 

But these “exhilarating days,” as they were later described in 
OUN publications, were soon over. The nationalist government was 
double-crossed and disbanded by the Germans as soon as its propa¬ 
ganda value for illustrating the supposed “warm welcome” enjoyed 
by Wehrmacht troops in their invasion of the USSR had passed. 
Several OUN leaders, including Stetsko and Bandera, were placed 
under house arrest. One kingpin the Nazis missed, however, was 
the OUN’s ambitious secret police chief, Mykola Lebed. 

U.S. Army intelligence reports 19 that Lebed organized the police 
and militia from the underground, where he forged them into the 
Slushba Bespiekie (SB), the elite terror arm of the Ukrainian nation¬ 
alist forces. The specialty of Lebed’s SB teams was the hunting 
down of Red partisan leaders, torture, and interrogation, as well as 
gathering military intelligence for barter with the Germans. A 
number of right-wing Ukrainian groups have also accused the SB 
of murdering competing nationalist leaders who declined to join 
“united fronts” organized by Lebed and his colleagues—a percep¬ 
tion that led to considerable bitterness about Lebed among rival 
Ukrainian nationalist factions after the war. By 1944 the OUN’s SB 
had proved its effectiveness as an intelligence agency equal to those 
of both the Nazis and the Soviets. Its experience with the use of 
assassination as a political tool, in particular, was second to none. 

Lebed fled from the Ukraine shortly after the Nazis had left. In 
early 1945 he escaped to Rome, where he established himself as 
“foreign minister” of the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council, 
an anti-Communist united front organization dominated by OUN 
chieftains. He brought with him a treasure of great value: records 
of the Liberation Council and the SB, including lists of nationalist 
and Communist agents still in the Ukraine, names of strong-arm 
specialists, and enough compromising information on personalities 
of the Ukrainian movement to give whoever enlisted his help a 
handle on thousands of prominent exiles. 


nationalists. He also flatly denies that he was ever a leader of the SB, the OUN’s secret 
intelligence organization. “Even the KGB, who often accuse me of all kinds of ‘crimes/ ” 
Lebed says, “state that the leader of the SB was Mykola Arsenych, who committed suicide 
when he was finally surrounded by KGB forces so that he would not fall into their hands 
alive.” 

Lebed’s assertions on this last point contradict those in contemporary U.S. Army intelli¬ 
gence records, which state that Lebed “became chief of the SB, which is the intelligence 
organization” and that, according to a second U.S. study, he “organized a strong, under¬ 
ground executive corps of SB security service, which by terrorist methods kept under control 
the Bandera party [the OUN], as well as later [its army, the] UPA.” 



166 BLOWBACK 


Lebed immediately began public and private appeals on behalf 
of the Ukrainian guerrillas still behind Soviet lines. At first the 
Americans spurned him. Army CIC reports on Lebed dating from 
1945 and 1946 state claims that the nationalist leader was “a well 
known sadist and collaborator of the Germans/’ 20 accuse him of 
several murders, and assert that he looted money from nationalist 
organizations. 

Sometime during the spring or summer of 1947, however, Lebed 
made an offer to U.S. Army intelligence that it failed to resist: 
exchange of his experience and his file collection for the patronage 
and protection of the U.S. government. The United States “wanted 
to know what Russia, what the Soviet Union was,” Lebed acknowl¬ 
edged in an interview with the author. “They wanted to know what 
was the [Soviet secret police] MVD, who was who and how things 
fit together. That was why they wanted me.” 21 

A certain Captain Hale of the Rome U.S. Army Counterintelli¬ 
gence Corps office notified CIC headquarters in Munich and 
recommended that the U.S. Army smuggle the Ukrainian out of 
Rome and into Germany, where he could be put to better use by 
American agencies. Munich CIC HQ was pleased with the plan, and 
the operation was carried out smoothly later that year. Captain 
Hale—and everyone else involved in the recruitment and transfer 
of Mykola Lebed—were given letters of commendation. Lebed’s 
new handlers in Munich, it is worth noting, were the same group 
of American CIC agents who were at that time running Klaus 
Barbie and Emil Augsburg’s network of fugitive SS men. 

Lebed’s relationship with the CIC in Munich worked well. By 
mid-1948 his “Liberation Council” was receiving a substantial in¬ 
come from American sources, probably through army intelligence. 
His handlers liked him; his “political standpoint is positive,” re¬ 
ported the CIC in a study of personalities recommended for a 
Ukrainian government in exile—“i.e., reliable from the point of 
view of the Western Powers.” 22 

But Lebed’s life in Germany was fraught with danger. His pseu¬ 
donym, “Mykola Ruban,” was becoming well known in exile circles. 
Soviet and Polish secret police agents had a blood debt to settle with 
him, and their attempts to capture him and ship him back to the 
USSR on war crimes charges were only the edge of a much larger 
tempest that was headed toward Lebed. Perhaps worst of all, the 
OUN had undergone another factional split during the summer of 
1948, and some of his erstwhile comrades, men who knew his hab- 



“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 167 

its, hideouts, and contacts, were now after him as well. His new 
enemies—a rival OUN faction under Stepan Bandera that included 
a number of SB men—had a well-deserved reputation for murder¬ 
ing their opponents. 

The CIA saved Lebed. Fortunately for him, the agency’s OPC 
division had committed itself to building governments-in-exile for 
Eastern Europe, and the agency’s authority within the American 
national security complex was on the rise. An innocuous piece of 
agency-sponsored legislation was winding its way through the U.S. 
Congress just as Lebed’s personal crisis took hold. Most provisions 
of the proposed new law were routine housekeeping; they author¬ 
ized the CIA director to commission an official seal for the CIA, for 
example, and permitted the agency to pay “association and library 
dues” on behalf of overseas agents. 

The 1949 law also contained a provision that eventually rescued 
Mykola Lebed. It reads: “Whenever the Director [of the CIA], the 
Attorney General and the Commissioner of Immigration shall de¬ 
termine that the entry of a particular alien into the United States 
... is in the interests of national security or essential to the further¬ 
ance of the national intelligence mission, such alien and his immedi¬ 
ate family shall be given entry to the United States . . . without 
regard to their inadmissibility under their immigration or any 
other laws and regulations . . . . [emphasis added].” 23 Up to 100 ' 
persons per year, plus their families, could be brought into the.,—> 
United States under this statute with no questions asked.* ^ 

Since 1949 nearly everything about this so-called 100 Persons Act 
has been kept strictly secret by the government. Both the Office of 
the Attorney General and the commissioner of immigration have 
claimed—in reply to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by 
the author—that they have no records whatsoever concerning their 
activities under the act for any time during the last thirty-five 
years. 24 The CIA, for its part, defied a congressional committee’s 
request for an accounting—even a secret accounting—of the 


*Buried in the text of the CIA-sponsored law, and mentioned almost in passing, was legal 
authorization for the CIA to ignore public accountability for its budget, its personnel policy, 
or its procurement practices. That one-sentence-long subsection exempted the agency from 
complying with any other law that might disclose “intelligence sources and methods.” 

A second phrase directs the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties ... as the 
National Security Council may from time to time direct.” Agency lawyers have long inter¬ 
preted that passage to mean that secret orders from the NSC or the president carry greater 
weight than any “ordinary” law passed by Congress. These two brief sections of the law have 
proved to be the legal foundation upon which most of the modern CIA has been built. 


\ 



168 BLOWBACK 


agency’s activity under this law. A few things are known, however, 
as a result of leaks over the years. One is that Gustav Hilger, the 
former Nazi Foreign Office expert who had entered the country 
under Operation Bloodstone, became one of the first beneficiaries 
of the act. Hilger was rewarded for his services with a permanent 
resident alien status in the United States. 

Despite all the secrecy, it is clear that the intent of Congress was 
in part to limit the CIA’s importation of questionable aliens, at the 
same time giving the agency a legal means of handling the tricky 
sorts of immigration cases that an espionage agency inevitably 
faces. Congress put a cap—100 persons per year, plus families—on 
the number of people the CIA could legally import who would 
otherwise be excluded from entering the United States. The law 
\ also established that senior government officials—namely, the di- 
| rector of the CIA, the attorney general, and the commissioner of 

( the INS—would have to take personal responsibility for stating that 
the favored immigrant was vital to national security. 

The CIA, in short, had a legal avenue to bring Mykola Lebed, or, 

( indeed, anyone else it chose, into the United States if that person 
was truly needed for national security reasons. In Lebed’s case, 
however, the agency chose intentionally to break the law which the 
agency itself had sponsored. 

In an apparent violation of immigration law and of its own char¬ 
ter, the CIA smuggled Lebed into the country under a false name 
in October 1949. Officially Lebed was just another immigrant en¬ 
tering the United States under the Displaced Persons Act. An inter¬ 
nal U.S. government investigation later found, however, that in 
reality CIA agents had helped him obtain false identification, a false 
police clearance form, and false references. 25 The fraudulent iden¬ 
tity was necessary, at least in part, because members of the OUN 
and the “Ukrainian Intelligence Service” were recognized as Nazi 
collaborators who had persecuted and murdered innocent people 
during the war and were therefore specifically barred from entry 
into the United States. 26 The agency was well aware of Lebed’s 
wartime record when they brought him into the country; interroga¬ 
tions dated 1946 and 1947 concerning these activities are found 
today in Lebed’s CIC file, copies of which were undoubtedly pro¬ 
vided to the CIA prior to his entry. 

The agency followed Bloodstone procedures and notified the INS 
of some aspects of Lebed’s career including the fact that he had 



“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 169 

once been sentenced to death for his role in an assassination. The 
CIA concealed Lebed’s true name, however, as well as the evidence 
that he had served as police minister during the Nazi occupation 
of the Ukraine. Lebed was briefly employed at the Pentagon follow¬ 
ing his entrance to the United States, and much of the file collection 
of the “Liberation Council” may still be found among army intelli¬ 
gence records. 27 

Once in this country, Mykola Lebed used his government con¬ 
nections to expand his influence in Ukrainian communities. He 
embarked on a major speaking tour aimed at boosting U.S. support 
for guerrilla warfare in the Ukraine. His propaganda efforts caught 
the media’s interest; his dramatically highlighted photograph plug¬ 
ging him as an “underground” leader appeared in Newsweek, and 
his speech at the Yale University Political Union enjoyed front-page 
treatment in Vital Speeches of the Day . 28 

Word of Lebed’s true name—and of his notoriety—inevitably 
reached INS field agents in New York. Not realizing that he had 
been sponsored by the CIA, the INS men opened an investigation 
into what appeared at first to be a clear-cut violation of American 
immigration law. By the time INS headquarters in Washington 
learned of the inquest, there was already enough evidence on hand 
in New York to compel Lebed’s immediate expulsion from the 
United States. 

It was only at that point—after Lebed had been, in effect, 
“caught”—that the CIA chose to “legalize” his immigration status 
under the 100 Persons Act. First, the agency convinced the INS to 
suppress the results of its own investigation. Then the necessary 
correspondence was exchanged among Director Walter Bedell 
Smith, Attorney General James P. McGranery, and INS Commis¬ 
sioner Argyle Mackey. Lebed—the former police minister in Nazi- 
occupied Ukraine—was formally declared to be a legal permanent 
resident of the United States “for national security reasons.” 29 This 
was about two years after the CIA had smuggled him into the 
country in the first place. 

Since that time, Lebed has made himself a fixture at Ukrainian 
conferences and gatherings, where his political faction continues to 
advertise him as the foreign minister of the supposed Ukrainian 
government-in-exile. He lives today in Yonkers, New York, and it 
is unlikely he will ever be forced to leave the United States against 
his wishes. 



170 BLOWBACK 


* * * 

The CIA’s decision to legalize Lebed’s status only after he had 
beeiTHetected is one of the most disturbing aspects of the entire 
affair. The obvious question is just how m any other M^ qjaLebeds^ 
did-ihe-agency secretly sponso r w ho were not acci dentally caught 
by INS fielcTihvestigaTors? ~ ^ 

‘~T)he other such ^TQegaP is clearly General Pavlo Shandruk, the 
chief of the Ukrainian quisling “government-in-exile” created by 
the Nazi Rosenberg ministry in 1944. Shandruk had actively col¬ 
laborated with the Nazis since at least 1941, and his role in pro-Nazi, 
anti-Semitic activities clearly barred him from legal entry into the 
United States. 

But Shandruk had apparently won the CIA’s favor by working for 
both British and U.S. intelligence after the war. He is known to have 
been paid at least 50,000 deutsche marks by the United States in 
1947 (the equivalent of about $150,000 in today’s currency) “to 
organize an intelligence net,” 30 according to his Army CIC file. 

Shandruk traveled to America only days before Lebed, also arriv¬ 
ing in October 1949. It is likely that Shandruk entered the United 
States under a false name, as Lebed had. The INS, at least, claims 
that it has no record of anyone named Pavlo Shandruk (or the 
various other transliterations of that name) ever entering the 
United States. But Shandruk did in fact arrive, and he lived openly 
in New York under his own name during the 1950s. He even even¬ 
tually published his war memoirs in this country through Robert 
Speller & Sons, a well-known outlet for right-wing literature. It is 
clear from the CIC’s dossier on Shandruk that that agency, at least, 
knew of his activities, address, and ambiguous immigration status. 
Yet no one moved to deport Shandruk, and he remained influential 
in Ukrainian emigre circles in the United States until his death. 31 

By the time Mykola Lebed arrived in the United States in 1949, 
the CIA and OPC appear to have discarded any lingering reserva¬ 
tions about employment of Nazi collaborators for behind-the-lines 
missions into the USSR. Who was better suited, after all, to lead an 
insurgency in the Ukraine than the men who had shared their weal 
and woe during the war? The OUN/UPA’s Nazi collabxjrators. in 
short, were not accidentally inv olyedj n U.S. eff ertsamthe region-^ 
through an oversight. In reality, the: United States jystenialically 
sought out Ukrainian SS and militia Veterans^Eecause they were 



“Any Bastard as Long as He's Anti-Communist” 171 

thought to be well suited for rejoining their former comrades still 
holed up in the Carpathian Mountains. The Americans kept careful 
registers, in fact, of the names, addresses, and careers of thousands 
of such Ukrainian SS veterans well into the 1950s so that they might 
be quickly mobilized in the event of a nuclear conflict with the 
USSR. 32 

Meanwhile, inside the Ukraine many OUN/UPA insurgents con¬ 
tinued to employ the same terror and anti-Semitism during the 
postwar guerrilla conflict that they had during the Nazi occupation. 
At Lutsk in the western Ukraine, for instance, OUN/UPA guerrillas 
concentrated on halting Soviet efforts to establish collective farms. 
Their practice, according to a U.S. intelligence report dispatched 
from Moscow, was to identify peasant farmers who agreed to join 
the state-sponsored farms. “That same night,” the U.S. military 
attache cabled to Washington, OUN guerrillas “appeared in the 
homes of these individuals and c hop ped off the arms which the 
peasants had raised at the [collective farm] meetingyto signify as¬ 
sent.” Similarly, according to a second American report, 33 “ pros - 
p CTQu^ ^ys^ were “singled out” for attack al ong with Communist s 
during the insurgency in much the same way they had been during 
the Nazi occupation. 

The fact that some of the OUN/UPA insurgents had been respon¬ 
sible for atrocities—the looting, the rape, and the destruction of 
villages tHaFreTused to provide them with supplies, for example— 
does not appear to have entered U.S. policymakers’ deliberations of 
tKe^Hay~To~~any significant degree. That was" a senq us_ blunder fo r 
strictlyj^ract ical re asons, e ven if on edisregards the ethical consid- 
era tions j pvQlvpd in employing these age nts. 

The OUN’s coll aboration \ylth-±lio--Na^L^during the war, as well 
as the organization’s own bloody history, had fatally severed the 
insu rgents from the large majority of the I^raiman"peop le they 
claimed to represent. This was apparently true even among villag¬ 
ers who were opposed to the new Soviet regime. By the time the 
Americans decided to extend clandestine aid to the guerrillas in 
1949, the insurgency was already in serious decline. War weariness, 
popular disgust with the naked terrorism of OUN/UPA guerrillas, 
and the Soviets’ use of large-scale forced relocations of the indige¬ 
nous population combined to isolate the guerrillas and cut them off 
from grass-roots support. 

The CIA itself was divided over how to handle the OUN. Allen 
Dulles, Frank Wisner, and other clandestine warfare enthusiasts 



172 BLOWBACK 


advocated extending substantial military aid to the guerrillas. This 
would rekindle the rebellion, they reasoned, and the insurgents’ 
example might spred to the rest of Eastern Europe. Among 
Wisner’s first maneuvers on behalf of the Ukrainian rebels was a 
November 1949 agreement with the army for clandestine procure¬ 
ment of “demolition blocks, M4 [plastique explosive] and blasting 
accessories” for use in sabotage programs, according to Pentagon 
summaries of CIA correspondence. Less than two months after that 
Wisner struck a second deal with the military for the off-the-books 
acquisition of a stockpile of arms and explosives that~eventualTy 
totaled hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of guns, helicopters, 
Jeeps, grenades, uniforms, and everything else necessary to equip 
several small armies. 34 

Even so, a substantial faction of the agency did not favor a full- 
scale guerrilla conflict in the Ukraine, at least not at that time. The 
military and political reality of the situation, these men and women 
argued, was that the United States could harass the USSR in the 
region but not seriously challenge Soviet rule. CIA executives like 
Franklin Lindsay and Harry Rositzke, both of whom worked closely 
with the Ukrainian guerrillas, agreed that underground warfare in 
the Carpathian Mountains was premature and likely to lead to the 
complete obliteration of the rebels. As Rositzke tells the story 
today, some CIA analysts concluded as early as 1950 that the OUN/ 
UPA guerrillas “could play no serious paramilitary role” 35 in the 
event of a Soviet military move against the West. Rositzke’s group 
instead favored using the guerrillas as a temporary base inside the 
USSR for espionage and for gathering “early warning” types of 
intelligence concerning possible Soviet military mobilization. 

But significant pressures from the State Department and the 
Pentagon pushed for a vastly expanded paramilitary effort, and this 
arm twisting grew stronger after the outbreak of the Korean War. 
One Pentagon plan confidently predicted that a 370,000-man guer¬ 
rilla army could be assembled in a matter of months by parachuting 
in some 1,200 U.S.-trained insurgency specialists, plus supplies. 36 
This extensive underground force was supposed to wait patiently 
for an American order to move once World War III had broken out. 
“A view was held in both the State Department and the Pentagon,” 
says Lindsay, “that said, ‘Go build an organization, and then put it 
on standby in case we need it.’ I remember saying that it just 
doesn’t work that way” when it comes to guerrilla warfare, Lindsay 
recalls. 37 



“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 173 

In practice, these contradictory forces within the U.S. national 
security community produced a situation in which some CIA and 
OPC agents promised nearly unlimited military support to the in¬ 
surgency but actually delivered relatively little. In the end, U.S. aid 
was given to the rebels only insofar as it served short-term Ameri¬ 
can intelligence-gathering objectives, no more. 

What this meant in strategic terms was that the guerrillas re¬ 
ceived neither the military support they needed to survive as an 
insurgent movement nor the patient camouflaging that might have 
permitted them to exist as spies. Instead, they were used as mar¬ 
tyrs—some of whom died bravely; some pathetically—and grist for 
the propaganda mills of both East and West. 

Beginning in late 1949, the agency parachuted U.S.-trained 
emigre agents into the Ukraine, infiltrating perhaps as many as 
seventy-five guerrilla leaders into the region over a four-year pe¬ 
riod. A related American program dropped agents near Soviet air¬ 
fields and rail junctions farther north, near Orsha and Smolensk, 
where Gehlen’s spy networks left behind during the Nazi occupa¬ 
tion maintained a fragile existence. Britain also parachuted exile 
agents into the Ukraine, dropping in at least three teams of six men 
each in the spring of 1951 alone, all within about fifty miles of the 
nationalist stronghold at Lvov. 38 

Despite the heavy secrecy still surrounding Western paramilitary 
activities in the Ukraine, it is clear that former Nazi collaborators 
were integral to this effort. In one documented example, the Sovi¬ 
ets captured four U.S.-trained exiles within days of one of the first 
parachute drops of agents into the region. According to a formal 
complaint later filed by the USSR at the United Nations, 39 the four 
had been trained for their mission in an American intelligence 
school at Bad Wiessee, near Munich, then parachuted into the 
country by an American aircraft stripped of all identification mark¬ 
ings. Three of the four captured men—Aleksandr Lakhno, Alek¬ 
sandr Makov, and Sergei Gorbunov—had worked closely with the 
Nazis during the occupation of the USSR, the Soviets charged. 
Lahkno was reported to have betrayed five Red partisans to the 
Gestapo, while Makov had been a member of the Nazis’ “Black 
Sea” punitive battalion. All four of the captured men were interro¬ 
gated by Soviet police until they yielded everything they knew of 
U.S. espionage and covert warfare missions. Then they were shot. 

The handful of exiles who survived the harrowing parachute 
missions were given new identities and safe passage to the United 



174 BLOWBACK 


States. Not too many men lived long enough to take advantage of 
that program, however. Unfortunately for the U.S. agents, a Soviet 
spy named Kim Philby had wormed his way into the highest eche¬ 
lons of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Philby used his post 
aggressively to stir up factional conflicts among the various Ukrain¬ 
ian exile groups and then to betray every American and British 
agent he could identify to the Soviets. The large majority of the 
U.S.-trained agents who parachuted into the Ukraine were cap¬ 
tured and executed. 

In hindsight, it is clear that the Ukrainian guerrilla option became 
the prototype for hundreds of CIA operations worldwide that have 
attempted to exploit indigenous discontent in order to make politi¬ 
cal gains for the United States. Basically similar CIA programs have 
since been attempted among the Meo and Hmong peoples of 
Southeast Asia, anti-Castro Cubans, and, most recently, the Nica¬ 
raguan contras, to name only a few. Part of the U.S. rationale for 
these operations has always been that the American money and 
arms for the rebel groups will somehow provide a spark that will 
ignite popular support for democracy, civil liberties, and resistance 
to totalitarian—read Communist—rule. There is every indication, 
however, that such affairs have often produced serious blowback 
problems because their actual results have almost always been the 
exact opposite of what was originally intended, even in instances 
where the U.S.-backed faction has succeeded in taking power. 

In the case of the Ukrainian civil war the detail that it was now 
the “good” Americans, rather than the Nazis, who were backing 
the OUN failed to change the brutal, anti-Semitic tactics that this 
group had historically employed. Instead of rallying to the new 
“democratic” movement, there is every indication that many of the 
ordinary people of the Ukraine gave increased credence to the 
Soviet government’s message that the United States, too, was really 
Nazi at heart and capable of using any sort of deceit and violence 
to achieve its ends. The fact that this misperception of U.S. intent 
has taken root and sometimes flourished among native Ukrainians 
is a bitter pill for most Americans to swallow. But, indeed, how 
could it be otherwise? If former Nazis and terrorists were the vehi¬ 
cle through which America chose to spread the doctrine of freedom 
among people who had no other direct contact with the Western 
world, it is entirely understandable that these types of ideas about 
the United States seem reasonable to them. The Soviet govern¬ 
ment, not surprisingly, has long made every effort to reinforce such 



175 


“Any Bastard as Long as He’s Anti-Communist” 

conceptions of the United States among its population, and with 
some success. Today, more than forty years after the end of the war, 
Soviet propaganda still tags virtually any type of nonconformist in 
the Ukraine with the label of “nationalist” or “OUN,” producing a 
popular fear and hatred of dissenters that are not entirely unlike 
the effect created by labeling a protester a “Communist” in Ameri¬ 
can political discourse. 

The Ukrainian exile leader Lebed’s entry into the United States 
and his high-profile political agitation once he had arrived provide 
an example of a second type of blowback as well, one which was to 
become much more widespread in the years to come. To put it most 
bluntly, former Nazis and collaborators on the U.S. payroll who 
were also fugitives from war crimes charges began to demand U.S. 
help in escaping abroad in return for their cooperation with—and 
continuing silence about—American clandestine operations. Some 
such fugitives pressed for entry into the United States itself, while 
others were content to find safe havens in South America, Australia, 
or Canada. Before the decade of the 1940s was out, some American 
intelligence agents found themselves deeply embroiled in under¬ 
ground Nazi escape networks responsible for smuggling thousands 
of Nazi criminals to safety in the New World. 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 


Ratlines 


Ratlines, in espionage jargon, are networks of agents who smuggle 
fugitives or undercover operatives in and out of hostile foreign 
territories. These escape and evasion routes, as they are sometimes 
called, are a standard part of the clandestine operations of every 
major power, and there were hundreds of such ratlines snaking out 
of the Soviet-occupied territories in Eastern Europe in the wake of 
World War II. 

The story of one of these ratlines is of special interest here be¬ 
cause it reveals the manner in which the United States became 
entangled in the escape of large numbers of Nazi and Axis crimi¬ 
nals, many of whom remained ardent Fascists as contemptuous of 
American democracy as of Soviet-style communism. In hindsight it 
is clear that many of the ratlines used by the United States during 
the cold war began as independent, unsanctioned Nazi escape or¬ 
ganizations that later turned to selling their specialized services to 
U.S. intelligence agencies as a means of making money and protect¬ 
ing their own ongoing Nazi smuggling efforts. Some of the exiles 
involved in this dangerous work did it for money; some, for ideolog¬ 
ical reasons; some, for both. 

Thajpostimportant W estern ratlines that have come to light thus 
far, incl uding those that smuggled Nazis, o perats dJ n and through 
the__ yatican in Rom e.*^Unrav3h^"the~reasons why and how the 
Catholic Church became involved in Nazi smuggling is an impor- 


176 




Ratlines 177 


tant step in understanding the broader evolution of the postwar 
alliances between former Nazis and U.S. intelligence agencies. One 
organization is worthy of close scrutiny. It is the prominent Catholic 
lay group kn own as j ntermarium. During its heyday in the 1940s 
andliar]yTT950s leading members of this organization were deeply 
involved in smuggling Nazi fugitives out of Eastern Europe to 
safety in the West. Later Intermarium also became one of the single 
ijiost important so urces of recruit s for the CIA’s exile committees. 
This can be saicTwith some certainty because about a scoreTof 
Intermarium leaders ended up as activists or officials in Radio Free 
Europe, Radio Liberation, and the Assembly of Captive European 
Nations (ACEN), each of which the U.S. government has since ad¬ 
mitted as having been a CIA-financed and -controlled organiza¬ 
tion. 2 

For much of the Catholic Church’s leadership, it will be recalled. 
World War II had been an interlude in a deeper and more impor¬ 
tant struggle against “atheistic communism” that had been raging 
for decades. This more fundamental struggle had closely aligned 
the Vatican hierarch y with a half dozen conservative''Christian 
democratic and clerical-Fascist political parties tha t were willing 
Na zi pawns during the war, even when the Church of Rome was 
itself under id^ological aftack from the German Nazi party. t The 
majority of the Naz is’ Axis partners in E astern Europe, as well a s 
Vichy France, h ad b een led b y Catholi c Political part ies du ring th e 
^yar. The_pupp&t-gw^wimant inS lovakia , for example, was run by 
^Catholic priest, Monsignor JozeTTiso. Cro atia, a terrorist break ¬ 
away sta te from jY ugoslavia, described itself as a “p ure Catholic 
staRT’Tvhose leader, Ante Pavelic, had been personally"received by 
tKeTpope, while clerics in Admiral Nicholas Horthy’s Hungary en¬ 
joyed a more profound influence in that country’s wartime govern¬ 
ment than did its own parliament. It is well established, of course, 
that some Catholic Church leaders bravely resisted Nazi crimes, 
sometimes at the cost of their lives. Even so, it is also true that the 
church- based political parties me ntioned above played a centr al 
r51fe"m~Axis m i iItaiw~aggressTOT rrTHese organizations used the man- \ 
tie and the moral authority of the church to help carry out the 
preparations for, and in some cases the actual execution of, the Nazi 
genocide of the Jews.* 3 


* According to a 1941 diplomatic report by Vichy France’s representative to the Vatican 
(whichJi as never be enj disavQwje tL bv the Holv _Seeh the proper Christian attitude toward 
J^wsat that time was summarized as follows: 



178 BLOWBACK 


As Nazi Germany collapsed during late 1944 and early 1945, 
many senior church officials helped organize a massive campaign of 
refugee relief for millions of Catholics fleeing from Eastern Europe. 
Once this was under way, few distinctions were made between the 
Catholics responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in 
the Axis states and those being persecuted simply for opposition to 
the Soviets. The vast majority of the refugees who swept through 
Rome in the wake of the war had left their homelands for reasons 


We know by history that the Church has often protected Jews against the violence and 
injustice of their persecutors, and that at the same time it has relegated them to the 
ghettos. One of the greatest of churchmen, St. Thomas Aquinas, has left teachings that cast 
light on this attitude. . . . The Jews must be tolerated in the exercise of their religion; they 
must be protected from religious coercion; their children must not be baptized by force. 

. . . On the other hand, while proscribing any policy of repression of the Jews, St. Thomas 
nevertheless recommends that suitable measures be taken to limit their activities and 
restrict their influence. It would be unreasonable in a Christian state to allow the Jews to 
participate in the government. . . . It is legitimate to forbid them access to public office, 
and it is also legitimate to admit them to the universities and the liberal professions only 
on the basis of affixed proportion. As a matter of fact, this practice was strictly adhered 
to in the Middle Ages, and to [the enforcement of] that end a Lateran Council prescribed 
that Jews should distinguish themselves from Christians by a peculiarity of dress. . . . The 
precepts of justice and charity [should] be taken into account in . . . the liquidation of 
businesses in which Jews own interests [emphases in the original]. 


This policy, in practice, led to Catholic political parties’ carrying out many of the prepara¬ 
tory steps for the Holocaust, such as registering Jews and expelling them from public life, 
legislating seizure of Jewish property, and compelling Jews to display yellow Stars of David. 
But several of the same Catholic parties responsible for this persecution—Horthy’s Hungary 
being the best-known case—hung back from the actual mass murder of Jews, much to the 
annoyance of Hitler Germany. 

Regardless of the intentions of the Catholic collaborators in Eastern Europe, the fact 
remains that in the end the executions of Jews went ahead anyhow. Monsignor Tiso’s Slo¬ 
vakia, for example, had murdered about 75,000 Jews, including children, by the end of the 
war. In Hungary Germany installed a more cooperative prime minister in 1944 and suc¬ 
ceeded in deporting about 70 percent of the country’s Jewish population—more than 
400,000 people—to death camps in a matter of weeks. In the Baltic countries of Latvia and 
Lithuania, the subtleties of St. Thomas’s distinction between restricting Jews and killing 
them seems to have gotten lost in the chaos of war. There leaders of Catholic p olithcaj^parjties, 
in some cases jt cc orri pan ied_bv priests, actively instigateclpogroms in which thousands of 
fteepf^TosTtheir lives. ^ 

The Vatican did not condone these killings. Indeed, Pope Pius XII and some of his senior 
lieutenants moved discreetly—too discreetly, some say—to try to bring them to an end. 
Official letters were secretly dispatched, Jews were given shelter in church buildings, and 
the pope himself is said to have spent the bulk of his personal fortune on relief work. In Italy 
and France, in particular, many thousands of Jews owed their survival to the church’s efforts 
on their behalf. There were also individual prelates who acted with great heroism to save 
innocent people. These include Father Maximilian Kolbe, who gave up his life at Auschwitz 
so that another man might live. Despite such efforts, however, the results of the “Final 
Solution to the Jewish Question” are well known. 



Ratlines 179 


that had nothing to do with war crimes, obviously; they had simply 
been in the wrong place at the wrong time when the German or 
Soviet armies had stormed through their villages. 

At the same time, however, these refugee routes became the 
most important pipelines out of Europe for Nazis and collaborators 
fleeing war crimes charges. Factions within the church that had 
long been sympathetic to the Nazis’ extreme anti-Communist stand 
organized large-scale programs to facilitate the escapes of tens of 
thousands of Nazis and collaborators from Germany, Austria, 
Croatia, Slovakia, the Ukraine, and a number of other Eastern 
European states. The pivotal role of the church in the escape of the 
Nazis has been emphasized by Luftwaffe Colonel Hans Ulrich 
Rudel, the highly decorated German air ace who became an inter- 
national spokesman for the neo-Nazi movement after the war. ' 
“One may otherwise view Catholicism as one wishes. But what the 
Church, especially certain towering personalities within the I 
Church, undertook in those years [immediately after the war] to 
save the best of our nation, often from certain death, must never 
be forgotten!” Colonel Rudel exclaimed in a speech at Kufstein in 
1970. “In Rome itself, the transit point of the escape routes, a vast / 
amount was done. With its own immense resources, the Church 
helped many of us to go overseas. In this manner, in quiet and 
secrecy, the demented victors’ mad craving for revenge and retri¬ 
bution could be effectively counteracted.” 4 

The Vatican’s principal agencies for handling refugees were a 
group of relief agencies in Rome that divided the assistance work 
according to the nationality of the refugee. Lithuanians went to see 
Reverend Jatulevicius at No. 6 on the Via Lucullo, for example, 
while Padre Gallov at 33 Via dei Parione aided Hungarians and 
Monsignors Dragonovic and Magjerec at the Istituto di St. Jeroni- 
mus were in charge of Croatian relief, and so forth. 5 

According to a top secret U.S. State Department intelligence 
report of May 1947, “t he Vatican ... is the largest single organiza ¬ 
tion involved in the illegal movement of emigrants . . . [and] the 
justification .. . for its participatiorTin this illegaFtraffic is simply the 
propagation of the Faith. It is the Vatican’s desireJ:o assist any 
per son, regardless of nationality or~pohticarEe liefs, as long as that 
person can"prove^hinisenTTod^rr CTlatholTc ” The classified study 
confirmed that'Nazis a"nd Their collaborators were not excluded 
from the effort: “[I]n those Latin American countries where the 
Church is a controlling or dominating factor, the Vatican has 



180 BLOWBACK 


■ brought pressure to bear which has resulted in the foreign missions 
of those countries taking an attitude almost favoring the entry into 
their country of former Nazis and former Fascists or other political 
groups, so long as they are anti-Communist. That, in fact, is the 
practice in effect in the Latin American Consulates and Missions in 
Rome at the present time.” 6 

Leaders of the Intermarium organization became coordinators of 
much of the Nazi escape effort, and many of the men who con¬ 
trolled the Vatican’s relief campaign simultaneously became the 
top leadership of Intermarium. Monsignor Krunoslov Dragonovic, 
who ran escape routes for Ustachi (Croatian Fascist) fugitives, for 
example, served as the chief Croatian representative on the self- 
appointed Intermarium ruling council. Archbishop Ivan Buchko of 
the Ukraine, who successfully intervened with Pope Pius XII him¬ 
self to win freedom for a Ukrainian Waffen SS legion,* became the 

f ^Perhaps the most dramatic single escape through church channels was the 1946 deliver¬ 
ance of an entire Ukrainian Waffen SS division—some 11,000 men, plus many of their 
families—with the personal assistance of Pope Pius XII. Most of the rescued men, it is true, 
were no more than simple soldiers caught in a compromising position by events beyond their 
control. Many of the men in the division, however, were veterans of Ukrainian collaboration¬ 
ist police and militia units that had enthusiastically participated in anti-Semitic and anti- 
Communist pogroms in their homeland. Some of them—a smaller number—had served as 
guards in the Nazis’ death camps at Treblinka, Belsen, and Sobibor. Many of these men were 
destined eventually to serve in political warfare projects underwritten by the CIA. Hundreds 
of them are known to live in the United States and Canada today. 

The Ukrainian SS division surrendered to British troops in early 1945 and was interned 
at the Rimini POW camp north of Rome. Most of them were facing forced repatriation to 
the USSR under a clause of the Yalta agreements governing return of POWs who had been 
captured in enemy uniform. If they returned, they would almost certainly be executed for 
treason or serve long prison sentences in gulag labor camps. 

But that spring General Pavlo Shandruk, the leader of a Ukrainian liberation committee 
that had been founded under Nazi auspices, contacted Archbishop Ivan Buchko, a high- 
ranking prelate in Rome specializing in Ukrainian matters for the Holy See. Shandruk 
pleaded with Buchko by letter to intervene on behalf of the Ukrainian soldiers who had 
served in SS units, particularly what Shandruk termed the “1st Ukrainian Division,” which 
was in fact the 14th Waffen SS division “Galicia.” Shandruk hoped that Archbishop Buchko 
might reach the pope himself with the general’s plea for mercy on behalf of his men. 

“Archbishop Ivan [Buchko] answered my letter very soon informing me that he had 
already visited the Division,” Shandruk recalled later. “In a special audience (at night) the 
Archbishop had pleaded with His Holiness Pope Pius XII to intercede for the soldiers of the 
Division, who are the flower of the Ukrainian nation. ... I learned from the Archbishop 
. . . that as a result of the intercession by His Holiness, the soldiers of the Division were 
reclassified merely as confinees [rather than as prisoners of war], and Bolshevik agents were 
prohibited to visit their camps [j/c].” Although the troops were still confined to the POW 
camp at Rimini, they were, according to Shandruk, “out of reach of Communist hands” and 
no longer subject to repatriation to the USSR. By the spring of 1946 Shandruk, backed by 
Archbishop Buchko and the Ukrainian Relief Committee of Great Britain, had arranged with 
the British government to extend “free settler” emigration status to the Ukrainian Waffen 



Ratlines 181 


senior Ukrainian Intermarium representative, according to U.S. 
Army investigative records obtained through the Freedom of Infor¬ 
mation Act. The onetime FiAhrer of the openly Nazi Latvian Per- 
konkrusts, Gustav Celmins, was tapped as secretary of the head¬ 
quarters branch in Rome. 7 

Declassified U.S. State Department and army intelligence rec¬ 
ords trace the roots of Intermarium back to an alliance of militantly 
anti-Communist Catholic lay organizations from Eastern Europe 
established in the mid-1980s. The Abwehr (German military intelli¬ 
gence service) used Intermarium contacts as prewar “agents of 
influence” abroad as well as reasonably reliable sources of informa¬ 
tion on the large emigre communities of Europe. By the time the 
Nazis marched across the Continent, Intermarium had become, in 
the words of a U.S. Army intelligence report, “an instrument of the 
German intelligence.” 8 

The name of the group means “between the seas,” and the an¬ 
nounced purpose of the coalition was to unite nations “from the 
Baltic to the Aegean” in a common front against the USSR. Inter¬ 
marium was also to be the name of a new, unified Catholic federa¬ 
tion of all the countries bordering Russia—a new Holy Roman Em¬ 
pire, in effect—that was to be created in order to hasten the 
overthrow of the USSR. Although never a Fascist or National Social¬ 
ist group as such, Intermarium was far to the right of the political 
spectrum, and a number of its leaders actively collaborated with 
the Nazis. Their strategy was congruent in many important re¬ 
spects with that of Nazi “philosopher” Alfred Rosenberg, and Inter¬ 
marium leaders established a close working relationship with the 
Rosenberg ministry at least as early as 1940. Centuries-old Catholic 
anti-Semitism was rife in the organization, and Jews were excluded 
from Intermarium’s federation plan. 

After the war Intermarium became one of the first organizations 
to campaign openly for freedom for Waffen SS POWs and for per¬ 
mission to establish a volunteer anti-Communist army for use in a 
supposedly imminent war against the USSR. The group’s multilin¬ 
gual Bulletin , for example, argued as early as January 1947 that “it 
does not matter whether it is [now] between a second and a third 
world war, or else in the middle of a non-finished second world war 
. . . [but] events should not take us unprepared, like in 1939.” 


SS veterans at Rimini and to assist them in resettling in Canada, Australia, and other Com¬ 
monwealth countries. 



182 BLOWBACK 


Organizing must begin immediately, the official publication as¬ 
serted, for an “amalgamated common armed forces of the Inter¬ 
marium,” built out of exiles who had fought on either side between 
1939 and 1945. 

The function of this exile army, in Intermarium’s vision, was to 
deal with the USSR as the Allies had with Germany: by “crushing 
her military strength and partitioning her/’ as a key manifesto puts 
it, “into . . . free states in their ethnical borders” 9 —in other words, 
by dividing up the Soviet Union into smaller ethnic units in much 
the same way as had been proposed by the Rosenberg group inside 
the German high command. Not surprisingly, the USSR remained 
deeply hostile to Intermarium, and Soviet agents arrested the 
group’s leaders whenever they could lay hands on them. 

U.S. intelligence became aware at least as early as 1947 that 
Intermarium had become deeply involved in arranging escapes for 
a wide variety of Nazis and collaborators from Eastern Europe. In 
June of that year, for example, U.S. CIC Special Agent William 
Gowen notified his headquarters in Rome of a curious incident in 
which a fugitive Hungarian Fascist who had been a part-time in¬ 
former for him had “escaped” from Italian custody with Inter- 
marium’s assistance. According to Agent Gowen, Intermarium en¬ 
joyed enough clout inside the Italian police administration that it 
was able to arrange for the release of his informant through official 
channels. Following Intermarium’s intervention on behalf of the 
former Fascist, Gowen said, the Italian Ministry of the Interior 
cabled the prison camp where the informant was interned and 
ordered it to turn him loose. The freed suspect was then listed as 
“escaped” in official files. 10 

Gowen and other CIC agents established a working relationship 
with a number of Intermarium officials that same year. Their imme¬ 
diate goal was to create trouble for the Soviet-aligned government 
in Hungary, which had deposed a pro-Western prime minister in 
mid-1947. Not long after the Intermarium escape incident Agent 
Gowen arranged with intelligence specialists at the U.S. Depart¬ 
ment of State to provide a U.S. diplomatic visa to a leading Inter¬ 
marium spokesman, Ferenc Vajda, so that he might travel to Amer¬ 
ica. Vajda’s mission for Intermarium (and for the CIC) was to 
convince the deposed prime minister, Ferenc Nagy, to join with 
former Axis quislings in a new U.S.-sponsored alliance against Com¬ 
munist power in Hungary. 

Vajda, as it turns out, was himself a fugitive from war crimes and 



Ratlines 183 


treason charges at the time he entered the United States. He had 
made a career out of extreme-right-wing politics in Hungary and 
had been a leading anti-Semitic propagandist for the clerieal-Fas- 
cist Arrow Cross party. In the last months of the war Vajda had 
helped strip millions of dollars’ worth of Hungarian art treasures 
and industrial equipment from Budapest. This booty then became 
one of Intermarium’s primary sources of funding during the first 
years after the war. 

Vajda had been arrested on war crimes charges in Italy in April 
1947. But according to American counterintelligence records 
which have never before been made public, he soon escaped from 
Italian police custody in much the same way as Gowen’s earlier 
informant had and fled to Po pe Pius’s summer estate at Castel 
Gandolfo . where he was gh^nreFugeTTXSTdCTAgent Gowen^heh 
helped Vajda secretly exit the country and even provided him with 
a reference letter that asserted that Vajda "had been of great assist¬ 
ance to Counterintelligence Corps in Rome [by] giving information 
on immigrants from Russian satellite states.” 11 The Hungarian then 
traveled to Spain, where he succeeded in winning State Depart¬ 
ment and CIC support for his trip to the States. 

Unfortunately for Vajda and Special Agent Gowen, columnist 
Drew Pearson was in Rome shortly after the Hungarian fled Italy. 
He was approached by unknown persons—"probably Communists 
or Communist inspired,” Gowen said—who leaked many of the 
details of Vajda’s history and plans to him. Pearson soon discovered 
that the fugitive war criminal—and Intermarium representative— 
Ferenc Vajda had actually entered the United States at taxpayer 
expense and with special State Department clearance. The colum¬ 
nist publicized the incident, and Vajda was soon arrested and held 
at Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Former Hungarian Prime Min¬ 
ister Nagy, who had been the object of Vajda’s mission, denounced 
the Intermarium envoy as a "Nazi.” 12 There followed a brief con¬ 
gressional investigation, the records of which have remained sealed 
for more than thirty-five years. Vajda was soon deported and found 
his way to refuge in Colombia. He eventually ended up as Bogota 
correspondent for Time magazine (though he was fired when his 
past became public) and as a teacher at an international university 
whose board, interestingly enough, included Adolf A. Berle, Jr., 
who is well known today to have served as a conduit for CIA funds 
throughout this period. 13 

The Vajda affair was a disappointment for the alliance between 



184 


BLOWBACK 


U.S. intelligence and Intermarium, but it certainly did not end the 
relationship. In case after case, a clear continuity of personnel can 
be established, beginning with the Vatican refugee-smuggling net¬ 
works in 1945, continuing into Intermarium, and winding up in a 
variety of CIA-financed political warfare projects during the early 
1950s. A number of Intermarium activists, including some who are 
war criminals by even the strictest definition of the term, followed 
this pipeline into the United States. 

A handful of examples will have to suffice to illustrate this process. 
The Latvian component of Intermarium was among the most 
deeply compromised by its service to the Nazi war machine, yet a 
number of its most prominent members entered the United States. 
They went on to play leading roles in what are now known to have 
been CIA-funded emigre projects inside this country. 

The Latvian Fascist Perkonkrust Fiihrer Gustav Celmins, for ex¬ 
ample, had organized a Latvian SS unit in 1941 and served as a Nazi 
agent inside nationalist circles throughout the war. He went on to 
become an officer in the powerful Rome branch of Intermarium. 
Celmins entered the United States as a displaced person in 1950 
and was quickly hired as a teacher in a Russian studies program at 
Syracuse, New York, with a history of ties to American intelligence 
agencies. Celmins eventually fled to Mexico following a newspaper 
series that exposed his efforts to organize anti-Semitic activities 
among Latvian exiles in the United States. 14 

Other Latvian emigres in Intermarium include Alfreds Berzins 
and Boleslavs Maikovskis, both of whom were wanted on war 
crimes charges and both of whom ended up on the payroll of CIA- 
financed organizations during the 1950s. They served as leaders of 
the Committee for a Free Latvia and the International Peasant 
Union, respectively, which were bankrolled with agency funds 
laundered through RFE/RL and the related Assembly of Captive 
European Nations (ACEN). 15 

As will be seen in a later chapter, CIA money paid for the ACEN’s 
political congresses, provided substantial personal stipends to 
emigre leaders like Berzins, and in some cases published transcripts 
of their speeches in book form. Many Intermarium activists became 
guests on RFE/RL broadcasts, and the radio stations aggressively 
promoted the organizations they represented throughout the 
1950s. CIA money laundered through Radio Free Europe, it is 
worth noting, also financed the publication of the book The Assem¬ 
bly of Captive European Nations, which presented the proceed- 



Ratlines 185 


ings of the first ACEN congress in New York and included commen¬ 
taries by Berzins and the Albanian Bloodstone emigre Hasan Dosti, 
among others. 16 This text was distributed free of charge to virtually 
every library, newspaper, and radio station in the United States and 
Europe. The propaganda effort was so thorough that this tract con¬ 
tinues to turn up regularly in used bookstores and garage sales to 
this day. 

The United States became ensnarled in Intermarium’s large- 
scale underground railroads for Nazis when the CIC hired Croatian 
Intermarium leader Monsignor Krunoslav Dragonovic to run spe¬ 
cial ratlines out of Europe for U.S.-sponsored intelligence assets 
who were too “hot” to have any official connection with the U.S. 
government. Dragonovic, ajffgh-ranking prelate withinj he Cro a-, 
tiaq . Cath olic^Church, was runnmg~one of ffie^largesUand single 
most important Nazi escape services at the time the United States 
hired him. According to a later U.S. Justice Department report, 
Dragonovic himself was a war criminal who had been a “reloca¬ 
tion” official involved in the deportation of Serbians and Jews by the 
Croatian Fascist Ustachi regime that had been set up inside Yugo¬ 
slavia during the war. In 1944 he had fled to the Vatican, where he 
used the auspices of the church to create underground escape 
routes out of his home country for thousands of senior Ustachi 
leaders. According to Ivo Omrcanin, a former Ustachi government 
emissary and senior aide to Dragonovic now living in Washington, 
D.C., his mentor u sed church resources t o arrange safe passage for 
“many thousands of our people,” as Omrcanin puts it. “He helped 
as much of the government as he could, not excepting the security 
officials.” These “refugees” included men such as Ustachi chieftain 
Ante Pavelic and his police minister, Andrija Artukovic, who be¬ 
tween them had organized the murder of at least 400,000 Serbians 
and Jews. 17 

The later U.S. Justice Department investigation into the escape 
of Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie made public dozens of pages of 
official records concerning Dragonovic’s work for U.S. intelligence 
that would have otherwise probably never seen the light of day. 
The Justice Department directly admits that Dragonovic went to 
work for the Americans in smuggling U.S.-sponsored fugitives, and 
that—whether the United States liked it or not—this provided a 
source of financing and shield of protection, in effect, for the priest’s 
independent Nazi smuggling work. 18 



186 BLOWBACK 


The deal with Dragonovic was a product of the perceived intelli¬ 
gence needs of the period. According to CIC Agent Paul Lyon, the 
senior officer of the 430th CIC in Vienna, Major James Milano, 
ordered him to “establish a means of disposition of visitors”—Lyon 
means exiles from Eastern Europe—in the summer of 1947. These 
“visitors” were men and women “who had been in the custody of 
the 430th CIC,” Lyon writes, “and whose continued residence in 
Austria constituted a security threat as well as a source of possible 
embarrassment to the Commanding General.” The CIC man trav¬ 
eled to Rome, where, with the assistance of an exiled Slovakian 
diplomat, he struck a deal for mutual assistance with Monsignor 
Dragonovic, who already had “several clandestine evacuation 
channels to the various South American countries for various types 
of European refugees” in operation. 

Under the agreement the priest obtained false identifications, 
visas, secret safe houses, and transportation for emigres whose 
flights were sponsored by the CIC. Lyon and CIC Special Agent 
Charles Crawford, in exchange, helped special refugees selected by 
Dragonovic to escape from the U.S.-occupied zone of Germany. 
These were almost certainly fugitive Ustachi (Croatian Fascist) war 
criminals, even according to the Justice Department’s version of 
events. 19 

Officially, of course, the United States was still committed to the 
capture and punishment of Ustachi criminals. But the CIC-Drago- 
novic agreement inevitably entailed providing de facto protection 
not only to the fugitives sponsored by the United States but to the 
Croatian criminals known to be in the monsignor’s care as well. The 
CIC knew that its arrangement with Dragonovic was facilitating 
the escape of Fascist fugitives. CIC Special Agent Robert Mudd, for 
example, reported at the time of the first CIC-Dragonovic contacts 
that “many of the more prominent Ustachi war criminals and Quis¬ 
lings are living in Rome illegally. . . . Their cells are still maintained, 
their papers still published, and their intelligence agencies still in 
operation. Chief among the intelligence operatives . . . appear to be 
Dragonovic and Monsignor Madjerec,” he wrote. “Ustachi Minis¬ 
ters are either living in [Dragonovic’s] monastery, or living in the 
Vatican and attending meetings several times a week^“aF^San 
Gebohimo [i.e., the Istituto di St. Jeronimos, of which Dragonovic 
was in charge.]” 20 Agent Mudd went on to name ten major Ustachi 
leaders then in Dragonovic’s keeping, several of whom had ap¬ 
peared on Allied lists of war crimes suspects. Despite Mudd’s re- 



Ratlines 187 


port, however, the CIC did not arrest any of the Ustaehis in Drago- 
novic’s care, nor did it report where they were hiding to the United 
Nations War Crimes Commission or the Yugoslav government. 

The best known of the U.S.-sponsored passengers on Drago- 
novic’s ratline to come to light so far is Klaus Barbie, the wartime 
chief of the Gestapo in Lyons, France, who later went to work for 
U.S. intelligence in Germany. During the war, Barbie had deported 
Jews to death camps, tortured and murdered the resistance fighters 
who fell into his hands, and served as the political police in Nazi- 
occupied Lyons. At war’s end Barbie fled back to Germany, where 
he first came to the attention of the U.S. Army CIC as a target in 
a hunt. He happened to fall into the sights of Operation Selection 
Board, a series of joint U.S.-British raids in February 1947, which 
were designed to round up about seventy Germans who had orga¬ 
nized an underground pro-Nazi political party. Barbie was believed 
to be in charge of intelligence for the group—obtaining false papers 
and printing equipment, smuggling fugitives, and the like—and as 
such was high on the arrest list. 

He escaped apprehension, however, by climbing out the bath¬ 
room window as CIC agents were kicking in the front door. Barbie 
fled to Memmingen, a small town west of Munich, and there his 
relationship with the CIC began in earnest. The CIC in Region IV 
(which included Memmingen) knew that the CIC in Stuttgart, Hei¬ 
delberg, and Frankfurt (Regions I, II, and III) had arrest warrants 
out for Barbie in connection with his escape from Operation Selec¬ 
tion Board. But Barbie went to his friend Kurt Merk—a former 
Abwehr officer who was running his own spy network for CIC 
Region IV—and volunteered for service in the CIC, the same orga¬ 
nization that was attempting to capture him. Merk, himself a fugi¬ 
tive from French war crimes charges, convinced his American con¬ 
troller, Robert Taylor, that Barbie could be useful. CIC Region IV \ 
then hired Barbie and kept him hidden from the rest of the CIC. 21 / 

Agent Taylor and the CIC in Region IV had every opportunity * 
to know before they recruited Klaus Barbie that he had been chief 
of the Gestapo in Lyons, France, during the war. The CIC’s “Cen¬ 
tral Personalities Index Card” identifying him as such had been 
distributed throughout the agency during Operation Selection 
Board. Barbie’s name, moreover, had been listed in the CROW- 
CASS directories since 1945 as a suspect in the murder and torture 
of civilians. Barbie himself admitted to his handlers, furthermore, 
that he had been an SD and a Gestapo officer (though he claimed 



188 BLOWBACK 


he had not been involved in torture or crimes against humanity), 
and passing references to Barbie’s background and rank in the Nazi 
intelligence service are found scattered throughout his CIC file. 
This self-admitted status as a former SD and SS officer placed Barbie 
in the “automatic arrest” category under occupation law in Ger¬ 
many at the time. The CIC, if it had felt itself bound by the written 
laws, should have arrested Barbie without further ado. It was not 
necessary for the CIC to know the specific crimes Barbie may have 
committed when it made the arrest, though obviously a full investi¬ 
gation should follow. It was enough that Barbie was an SD man. 22 

Instead, however, Agent Taylor and his successors went out of 
their way to keep Barbie on the payroll. Barbie’s “value as an 
informant infinitely outweighs any use he may have in prison,” 
Taylor noted in one of several internal CIC recommendations on 
behalf of his agent, and CIC headquarters in Germany eventually 
officially approved his recruitment of the former SS officer. Barbie 
was soon running several separate spy networks that penetrated 
the French intelligence service and stretched into Romania and 
into right-wing Ukrainian emigre organizations in Germany. Bar¬ 
bie’s subagents also performed undercover work inside the KPD 
(German Communist party) in Region IV and enjoyed a bonus of 
100 deutsche marks when he came up with the “complete KPD 
membership list of Stadt Augsburg,” his security file indicates. 23 

Accounts of Barbie’s wartime deeds gradually leaked out through 
gossip from other Nazis on the U.S. intelligence payroll. U.S. CIC 
Agent Erhard Dabringhaus, who was Barbie’s controller for a short 
time during the late 1940s, remembers that Barbie’s erstwhile 
friend Kurt Merk informed on Barbie after having been short¬ 
changed in his spy pay. Merk “told me these stories about Klaus 
Barbie having tortured French resistance fighters,” Dabringhaus 
says. “He told me that [Barbie] used to hang them by their thumbs 
until they were dead . . . [and that] if the French ever found out 
how many mass graves Barbie was responsible for, even Eisen¬ 
hower would not be able to protect him.” 24 Dabringhaus asserts 
that he reported all this to CIC headquarters but was met with only 
silence. 

The fact that Barbie may have been a war criminal simply was 
not of interest at CIC headquarters. There were clearly hundreds 
of SS men working for the United States at the time, and hundreds 
more working for the French, British, and Soviets. Why worry 
about a Hauptsturmfiihrer who had served in France? The rumors 



Ratlines 189 


concerning Barbie were not startling; they were routine. Even 
Dabringhaus, who today expresses shock at the use of Barbie as an 
agent, concedes that his other work for the CIC consisted in large 
part of running still another network of SS men, that one in the 
Stuttgart area. 

But Barbie was different from most of the other Nazis. By coinci¬ 
dence, one of the men whom Barbie had tortured and murdered 
was Jean Moulin, a French resistance hero. Many French veterans 
were determined to see Rene Hardy, who they believed had be¬ 
trayed Moulin to the Nazis, hang for his role in this murder, and 
Barbie was the one man who might have the evidence they needed. 
Thus, there was a powerful constituency for bringing pressure to 
bear on the CIC in the Barbie case, while other Nazis working for 
the CIC were, well, just “other Nazis.” 

Rumors concerning Barbie’s employment (and protection) by the 
Americans began to reach French newspapers and politicians at 
least as early as 1948. They, in turn, brought increasing pressure to 
bear on the U.S. government through publicity and eventually 
through official notes requesting Barbie’s extradition from Ger¬ 
many. That, in the final analysis, is why the CIC chose to provide 
Barbie with a new identity and safe passage to Argentina in 1951, 
while thousands of other ex-Nazis who had been “of interest” to the 
CIC at one time or another have simply lived out their lives in 
Germany. If the CIC had dumped Barbie when the French govern¬ 
ment began requesting his extradition, he would have had plenty 
of compromising things to say about the CIC, his handlers agreed 
at the time. If he talked to the British, it would be “an embarrassing 
situation” (one internal memo argued) because the Americans had 
hidden Barbie from them in the wake of Operation Selection 
Board. If the French got him it would be even worse: CIC head¬ 
quarters believed that the French Surete (security service) had 
been “thoroughly penetrated by Communist elements,” as the U.S. 
Justice Department’s later report on the affair put it, who wanted 
to “kidnap Barbie, reveal his CIC connections, and thus embarrass 
the United States.” 25 

CIC headquarters’ response to France’s extradition request was 
a bureaucratic maneuver of breathtaking simplicity. Barbie, ac¬ 
cording to headquarters, should be immediately “dropped as an 
informant.” At the same time, however, it was “desired that subject 
[Barbie] not be made aware that his status within this organization 
has been altered.” 26 The only way that Barbie could remain un- 



190 BLOWBACK 


aware of his “altered status” was for the CIC to continue to pay him, 
accept his reports, and provide him with new assignments; and that 
is exactly what happened. Barbie, in short, was employed by the 
CIC in order to conceal the fact that he had actually been dismissed. 

In December 1950 the CIC helped arrange new false identifica¬ 
tion for Barbie (“Klaus Altmann”), then paid Monsignor Drago- 
novic to arrange visas and travel to South America for the Nazi 
fugitive. Agent George Neagoy (who took over the ratline opera¬ 
tion from Agent Lyon) handled the affair for the CIC. Barbie’s 
departure from Europe was calm, even routine, according to the 
army’s postmortem of the events. 27 

It is valuable to pause for a moment here to place Barbie’s escape 
in a broader historical perspective. The intense apprehension in 
Washington created by the outbreak of the Korean War in June 
1950 became an important factor in shaping relations between U.S. 
security agencies and many former Nazis in Europe, of whom Klaus 
Barbie was only one. U.S.-led United Nations forces scored some 
impressive early gains against the North Koreans that summer, but 
the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army entered the 
conflict in the fall and inflicted heavy casualties on the UN troops. 
Communist forces took South Korea’s capital, Seoul, during the first 
week of January 1951. Washington’s morale plummeted, and senior 
officers at the Pentagon and National Security Council began seri¬ 
ous discussions of tactics for using atomic weapons against the Chi¬ 
nese. 

C The Korean crisis precipitated an incident halfway around the 
| world that starkly revealed the extent to which the U.S. security 
/ policy of the period depended upon obscuring Nazi criminality. 
I The Americans wanted W est Germany’s military mu scle and steel 
mills as a linchpin for Western European defense againiFwKat 
many feared was ah imminent invasion fronTthe USSR. The West 
German military and much of that country’s political establishment 
balked, however, arguing that America’s treatment of Nazi war 
criminals thus far had been too harsh and had besmirched the 
honor of the German officer corps. 

The price the new German administration wanted for its cooper¬ 
ation in an alliance with the United States was freedom for the 
convicted Nazi war criminals imprisoned in Landsberg Prison, near 
Munich. Many West German leaders were insistent that the fifteen 
Nazi inmates facing death sentences—most of whom were murder 



Ratlines 191 


squad leaders—be saved from hanging. Chancellor Konrad 
Adenauer himself publicly contended that continuing incarcera¬ 
tion of these convicts posed what he called a “psychological prob¬ 
lem” for the West Germans because imprisonment of certain con¬ 
victs popular with the West German officer corps “would . . . put 
obstacles in the way of future [military] recruitment if people 
against whom no war crimes have been proved continue to be held 
in jail.” 28 The chancellor’s bland comment was misleading—the 
Landsberg inmates had, in fact, been tried and found guilty of the 
murder of at least 2 million people, profiteering from slave labor, 
massacring American POWs, and thousands of other specific acts of 
terror—but it is an indication of what the attitu des of high-level 
West German government officials were at the time. 

Following the outbreak of the Korean War, U.S. High Commis¬ 
sioner for Germany John McCloy moved rapidly to resolve the 
U.S.-West German dispute over the Landsberg prisoners. He hand¬ 
picked a legal review commission to advise him on clemency for the 
inmates, and the group then spent the next six months poring over 
the various appeals and requests for mercy filed on behalf of the 
convicts. McCloy’s commission refrained from any contact with the 
U.S. Nuremberg prosecutors, however, and declined to review doc¬ 
umentary evidence of specific acts of Nazi criminality that had been 
brought to light during the prisoners’ trials. 29 

McCloy announced the recommendations of this task force in 
January 1951, only a few days after Seoul had fallen to Communist 
forces. He began by acknowledging the “enormity of the crimes” 
committed by the prisoners at Landsberg and called for stern mea¬ 
sures against them. But he then went on to argue that in some cases 
there was a “legitimate basis for clemency,” as he put it, for exam¬ 
ple, when the Landsberg prisoner’s sentence “was out of line with 
sentences for crimes of similar gravity in other cases” or when the 
convict had had “relatively subordinate authority” during the war, 
or when other mitigating factors were present. 30 

McCloy ruled that five of the criminals, including Einsatzgrup- 
pen commander Otto Ohlendorf and concentration camp chieftain 
Oswald Pohl, had to hang. He then substantially reduced the prison 
sentences of seventy-nine other major Nazi war criminals, most of 
whom were set free within a few months of McCloy’s ruling. The 
beneficiaries of this act included, for example, all^ofjii^ convicted 
c oncentratio n camgjfoj^^all of the top judges who had adminis¬ 
tered the Nazis^speeial courts” and smnlaFmachinery of repres- 



192 BLOWBACK 


sion; fourteen of fifteen convicted criminals from the first Einsatz- 
gruppen and concentration camp administration trial, seven of 
whom were released immediately; sixteen of twenty defendants in 
the second Einsatzgruppen mass murder case; and all of the con¬ 
victed criminals in the Krupp corporation slave labor case, each of 
whom was released immediately. 31 

Equally important, McCloy’s clemency decisions for the Lands- 
berg inmates set in motion a much broader process that eventually 
freed hundreds of other convicted Nazi criminals over the next five 
years. Convicted I. G. Farben executive Fritz Ter Meer put the 
matter succinctly upon his release from Landsberg a few days after 
McCloy’s clemency. “Now that they have Korea on their hands,” he 
quipped, “the Americans are a lot more friendly.” 32 

Klaus Barbie was only a small part of these much larger events. 
But his U.S,-sponsored escape, when taken together with McCloy’s 
clemency of major war criminals and the Nazi utilization programs 
discussed thus far, points to an important conclusion. By the winter 
of 1950-1951 the most senior levels of the U.S. government had 
decided to abrogate their wartime pledge to bring Nazi criminals 
to justice. The atrocities of the Holocaust had been reduced to just 
another uncomfortable fact of history that had to be sidestepped in 
the interests of preserving West German military support for 
American leadership in the cold war. While nazism and Hitler’s 
inner circle continued to be publicly condemned throughout the 
West, the actual investigation and prosecution of specific Nazi 
crimes came to a standstill. 

More than thirty years later the maturing of public opinion and 
a change of government in both France and Bolivia, where Barbie 
had ended up, led to the capture of Klaus Barbie by Bolivian au¬ 
thorities and his shipment to France to stand trial for crimes against 
humanity. This in turn led to a decision by the U.S. Justice Depart¬ 
ment to open its own investigation into the Barbie matter, a move 
that was motivated at least in part by the fact that new leaks and 
rumors concerning the former Nazi’s work for U.S. intelligence 
were now surfacing almost daily and receiving extensive play in the 
world’s press. 33 As noted above, this investigation concluded that 
the United States had indeed protected Barbie in Europe and engi¬ 
neered his escape but that Barbie was the only such Nazi who had 
been assisted in this fashion. 

The U.S. Justice Department’s 1983 report on the Barbie escape 



Ratlines 193 


finessed the inevitable questions concerning just how many other 
Nazis might have moved through Monsignor Dragonovic’s ratline. 
By limiting its definition of the U.S. responsibility in this affair to 
only those persons whom the United States directly sponsored for 
travel through the ratline, the report ignores the role that the CIC’s 
tacit—and at times active—support had in facilitating Dragonovic’s 
own Nazi smuggling work. Taking this tack in the report may have 
some narrow legal justification—this was, after all, an official De¬ 
partment of Justice study. But this approach obscures the fact that 
the ratline was actually used for mass escapes of Ustachi war crimi¬ 
nals throughout the 1940s, and it effectively hides the extent to 
which the United States’ interest in bringing Ustachi war criminals 
to justice was obstructed by the CIC’s pact with Dragonovic. 

Then, while addressing the question of just those ratline travelers 
who were directly sponsored by the CIC, the study concludes: “No 
other case was found where a suspected Nazi war criminal was 
placed in the rat line or where the rat line was used to evacuate a 
person wanted either by the United States Government or any of 
its post-war allies.” 34 

This statement has the ring of being a straightforward declara¬ 
tion, and it was accepted without question by most of the U.S. 
media to mean “No other Nazis or war criminals were saved 
through the ratline.” The Department of Justice was careful, how¬ 
ever, to choose the phrase post-war allies. The fact is that Drago¬ 
novic and the CIC combined to facilitate the escape of a number 
of Nazi collaborators sought by the Eastern European governments 
who were not U.S. postwar allies. 

The thrust of the Justice Department’s presentation on this point 
is directly contradicted, furthermore, by the very documentation 
that its own study has made public. Agent Lyon, who is now de¬ 
ceased, wrote a brief report on his ratline activities in 1950. It leaves 
little doubt that a number of those escapees sponsored by the 
Americans were, in fact, fugitives from war crimes charges. Obtain¬ 
ing false identification and visas for his “visitors,” Lyon states, “was 
done illegally in as much as such persons could not possibly qualify 
for eligibility [for emigration assistance] under the Geneva IRO 
[International Refugee Organization] charter.” 35 As noted previ¬ 
ously, there were two such groups barred by the IRO charter. Nazis 
and Nazi collaborators, on the one hand, and common criminals, on 
the other. At least one American agent attached to the 430th CIC 
in Austria was engaged in moving such “shipments,” as the clandes- 



194 BLOWBACK 


tine travelers were called, on a regular basis for more than three 
years. 

Lyon makes it clear that he, Dragonovic, and U.S. officials at least 
as high as the director of U.S. Army intelligence in Europe were 
well aware that some of the passengers on the ratline were fugitive 
war criminals. Dragonovic himself “is known and recorded as a 
Fascist, war criminal, etc.,” Lyon writes, “and his contacts with 
South American diplomats of a similar class are not generally ap¬ 
proved by U.S. State Department officials.” In a second report, 
Lyon says, “some of the persons of interest to Father Dragonovic 
may be of interest to the DeNazification [sic] policy of the Allies”— 
in other words, they are Nazis. “[H]owever . . . [they] are also of 
interest to our Russian ally.” 36 Ally is presumably used sarcastically 
here, considering this was written at the height of the cold war. 
According to Lyon, because the Soviets were looking for these 
Nazis, the program had to go ahead under such secrecy that even 
most of the CIC had to be kept in the dark about its existence. 

Special Agent Lyon went on to recommend expanded U.S. assist¬ 
ance to Intermarium leader Dragonovic. The priest's help was par¬ 
ticularly desirable, Lyon writes, because if the smuggling was ever 
exposed, “we may be able to state, if forced, that turning over of 
a DP to a Welfare Organization [such as Dragonovic’s] falls in line 
with our democratic way of thinking and that we are not engaged 
in illegal disposition of war criminals, defectees and the like.” 37 
Lyon was, in short, offering the “plausible denial” of the very fact 
that worried the CIC the most: The Austrian branch of the CIC was 
“engaged in the disposition of war criminals, defectees and the 
like,” at least when such persons were believed to be of intelligence 
value to the United States. 

As far as any connections between the Barbie escape and the CIA 
are concerned, the former Office of Special Investigations director 
Allan Ryan states flatly in his report on the Barbie affair that “there 
is no evidence in CIA files that the CIA had any relationship with 
Barbie prior to 1951 or . . . thereafter.” Ryan also told the author 
shortly after the Barbie study was released: “Frank Wisner had 
nothing to do with this.” 38 Ryan is probably right that the CIA had 
no operational control over Klaus Barbie. Whether the agency was 
involved in moving other Nazi fugitives with Dragonovic’s assist¬ 
ance, however, is another question. 

In fact, many of Dragonovic’s phony exit papers were arranged 
through Robert Bishop, an American ex-OSS agent who was then 



Ratlines 195 


in charge of the eligibility office of the International Refugee Orga¬ 
nization (IRO) in Rome, according to CIC records. 39 Bishop was one 
of the CIA/OPC’s most important assets in that city. He had worked 
with Wisner on a variety of clandestine projects in Istanbul, Bucha¬ 
rest, and Rome since at least 1944. The CIA/OPC’s connection to 
the smuggling operation was through Dragonovic and Bishop, not 
Barbie. 

Bishop and Wisner understood each other well when it came to 
clandestine operations. They had served together in Bucharest, 
Romania, in 1944 during what proved to be the first revealing 
collision between Soviet and American forces in Eastern Europe. 
Bishop had done truly pioneer work in Bucharest, from Wisner’s 
point of view, by opening up clandestine contacts with the anti- 
Communist bureau of Axis Romania’s wartime secret service in 
order to gather espionage information on the Soviets. “It was not 
our job to spy on the Russians [at that time],” Bishop concedes in 
a 1948 memoir of his Romanian experiences. “But we perceived 
very early that we were confronted with an even more sinister and 
potent totalitarian force than the one we were fighting. This real¬ 
ization caused us to spy on the Russians and their Romanian quis¬ 
lings, even though there was an order from the United States War 
Department that it should not be done.” 40 

Bishop went from there to the Italian IRO post. CIC Agent Lyon 
didn’t like Bishop, even though he depended on him for phony 
identification cards and other refugee paperwork. Robert Bishop 
“fancied himself a top intelligence operative in Italy,” the CIC man 
sarcastically commented. Bishop drank too much and talked too 
much, Lyon thought. “After [a] breakdown due to alcoholism, 
Bishop imagined himself as the savior of Italy,” Lyon reported to 
CIC headquarters in his wrap-up of ratline activities. 

During the 1948 Italian election campaign, according to Lyon, 
Bishop attempted to build the CIC’s highly secret underground 
escape operation into a large-scale paramilitary force. He sought to 
provide “large numbers of underground troops, military supplies, 
sea evacuation, air evacuation and the like” for clandestine warfare 
against Communists, according to CIC records. 41 Bishop’s Rome 
project, in short, was of a piece with Wisner’s other insurgency 
operations in Greece, the Ukraine, and elsewhere. CIC Agent Lyon 
opposed this grandiose scheme because it would inevitably lead to 
public exposure of his secret ratline, which Lyon needed for his 
own purposes. Lyon and the CIC soon began avoiding Bishop when 



196 BLOWBACK 


they could, then cut him off altogether in 1950. Dragonovic 
managed to carry on without Bishop, however, by establishing new 
sources for false visas and identification through church relie f chan¬ 
nels. 

Considerable evidence suggests that the CIA assumed control of 
Dragonovic—the “known and recorded . . . Fascist, war criminal, 
etc.,” in Agent Lyon’s phrase—in mid-1951, then maintained that 
relationship for the remainder of the decade. The Justice Depart¬ 
ment strongly disputes this theory, however, in its report on Barbie. 
It argues that “the CIA stated . . . that it had no records of such an 
operation” involving Dragonovic and further notes that CIA offi¬ 
cers familiar with the ratline told Justice that the agency “never 
had any connection with it.” 

But another look at the evidence made available through the 
department’s own investigation led many people to a different con¬ 
clusion concerning the CIA’s role in Dragonovic’s ratline. First of 
all, Agent John M. Hobbins of the 430th CIC noted in early 1951 
that the CIC’s budget for running escaping agents through the 
ratline was scheduled to expire on June 31, 1951. Hobbins should 
have known, for he was the 430th’s specialist in “Informant Dis¬ 
posal” during the early 1950s. The CIA “will assume responsibility 
for evacuations,” according to an order from the head of army 
intelligence in Austria, Hobbins reported, and the “end of the [CIC] 
budget and the assumption of control by CIA will roughly coin¬ 
cide.” 42 

CIC Agent George Neagoy, the army’s principal officer in charge 
of the ratline after Agent Lyon’s departure, transferred from the 
CIC to the CIA in 1951, at exactly the time the army’s ratline 
“franchise” was to be transferred to the agency. At a minimum, 
Neagoy brought the CIA a solid working knowledge of the tech¬ 
niques and contacts of Dragonovic’s ratline. It is certain that some 
U.S. intelligence group continued to use Dragonovic as a contract 
agent throughout the 1950s, though not necessarily for smuggling 
fugitives. The Croatian priest’s CIC dossier, for example, leaves no 
doubt that he was of “operational interest to USI,” as the declas¬ 
sified record puts it, 43 at least as late as October 1960. “USI” in this 
context signifies “U.S. intelligence.” The meaning of this phrase is 
unmistakable: Dragonovic was at the time a contract agent for an 
unnamed U.S. intelligence agency, most likely the CIA. 

Officially Dragonovic remained active in Vatican refugee relief 
work for much of the 1950s, then gradually drifted into high-profile 



Ratlines 197 


political activism in the Croatian exile community abroad. He 
maintained his sympathy for the Ustachis and contributed to publi¬ 
cations edited by Ante Bonifacic, an emigre nationalist politician 
who once served as “director of cultural relations” during the Usta- 
chi regime. Dragonovic also maintained a profitable sideline busi¬ 
ness of currency smuggling in Italy and Yugoslavia, at least accord¬ 
ing to testimony in a 1960 trial in which three Yugoslavian Catholic 
priests confessed to having been used by him for that purpose. They 
went to prison, but Dragonovic remained free in Rome. 

Dragonovic’s death was of a piece with his life. The Croatian 
emigre press proclaimed with alarm in 1967 that the aging priest 
had been kidnapped by Tito’s undercover agents and returned to 
Yugoslavia. There he was said to have been tortured, tried for war 
crimes, and executed. This version of events has found its way into 
a number of otherwise reliable studies of Eastern European affairs. 

In reality, however, Dragonovic returned to Yugoslavia voluntar¬ 
ily in 1967, then lived out the remainder of his days in Zagreb, the 
capital of the Croatian state inside that country. There was no trial 
for war crimes, no execution, and not even any criticism or harass¬ 
ment in the Yugoslavian press. He died peacefully in July 1983, 44 
all of which raises a reasonable doubt about whether Monsignor 
Dragonovic—war criminal, Ustachi smuggler, and career contract 
agent for U.S. intelligence—might have been working for the 
Yugoslav secret service for quite some time prior to his return to 
his homeland. 

Dragonovic’s tangled life is an indication of the complexities and 
contradictions that are an inevitable part of the intelligence busi¬ 
ness. It is obvious that neither the United States nor any other 
power limits its operational intelligence contacts to only those per¬ 
sons who might be considered “respectable” at home. But Drago¬ 
novic’s activities also make it clear that there can be a heavy price 
to pay for clandestine sponsorship of individuals and groups that 
have political agendas quite different from those of the United 
States. The Ustachi criminals saved by Dragonovic did not simply 
disappear once had they reached the New World. Instead, they 
established new Ustachi cells in Croatian communities abroad, in 
some cases headed by the same men who had once led murder 
squads inside wartime Croatia. The survival of this extremist sect 
remains one of the more violent examples of the blowback created 
by the postwar Nazi utilization programs. Ustachis are active to this 
day in the United States, Australia, and several other countries, and 



198 BLOWBACK 


according to reports of FBI investigations, some cells have been 
responsible for an airplane hijacking, bombings, extortion, numer¬ 
ous murders, and the assassination of several Yugoslavian diplomats 
over the course of the last two decades. 45 

No doubt the CIC did not anticipate that its support of Drago- 
novic’s ratline would one day contribute, even indirectly, to the 
creation of terrorist groups inside the United States or other West¬ 
ern countries. But the secrecy that has up to now surrounded U.S. 
Nazi operations such as the Dragonovic ratline drastically restricted 
the American public’s—and even the intelligence agencies’ own— 
ability to learn from this mistake. Rather than draw back from using 
Nazis as agents in the wake of the Barbie debacle, the practice 
expanded and became more flagrant. 




George E Kennan. As director of the 
State Departments Policy Planning 
Staff during the late 1940s, Kennan 
played an influential role in the devel¬ 
opment of early U.S. clandestine oper¬ 
ations, including recruitment of Nazi 
collaborators believed to be useful for 
intelligence and psychological war¬ 
fare. TOP: Kennan as a young Foreign 
Service officer in 1938. His service at 
the U.S. Embassy in Moscow estab¬ 
lished lifelong friendships with some 
of America s—and Nazi Germany s— 
most prominent experts on the USSR. 





America’s first chief of clandestine operations Frank Wisner, shown here in a rare photo¬ 
graph as an OSS officer in 1945. Wisner’s Office for Policy Coordination and later. Plans 
Directorate of the CIA became the headquarters for covert warfare employing Nazi 
collaborators. 



Key figures in postwar recruitment of intelligence specialists who had once been Nazi collabora¬ 
tors. TOP LEFT: Voice of America director and OSS veteran Charles Thayer, one of the first 
advocates of U.S. guerrilla warfare programs employing Vlasov Army veterans. TOP RIGHT: 
Kennan’s right hand in emigre operations, John Paton Davies, bottom right: Early CIA/OPC 
operative Carmel Ofifie, responsible for the care and feeding of selected emigre nationalists 
brought to Washington, D.C. bottom left: German diplomat Hans Heinrich Herwarth. 
Recruited by the Americans as a “source inside the Nazi Embassy” in Moscow in 1939, 
Herwarth served during the war as a leading political officer of the German army’s effort to use 
emigre troops on the eastern front. Charles Thayer rescued Herwarth from an American POW 
camp in 1945, setting the stage for the postwar revival of Germany’s defector troops under new 
U.S. sponsorship. 





litical and psychological warfare specialists, top: Senior German expert on the USSR Gustav 
lger (center, in glasses), seen here as first secretary of Germany’s embassy in Moscow during 
39 negotiations of the Ilitler-Stalin pact. Soviet minister V. M. Molotov is at the far left; Nazi 
reign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop is at right. In addition to his work on the eastern front, 
lger participated in SS efforts to deport Italian Jews to concentration camps. George Kennan 
rved as Hilgers reference for high-level U.S. security clearances after the war. bottom left: 
meral Ernst Kostring, leader of the Nazis’ program to recruit thousands of defectors from the 
ist into the German army, bottom right: General Andrei Vlasov, who defected to the Nazis 
lowing his capture in 1942, reviews a regiment of the German-sponsored “Russian Liberation 
my.” Vlasov was eventually hanged by the Soviets for treason, but his troops—many of them 
terans of Nazi extermination squads—became foot soldiers in U.S.-sponsored anti-Communist 
ychological warfare operations of the cold war. 



m 






v * 


■/ 


- J 




Nazi political warfare in the East, top: A 
cavalry unit of Vlasovs Army on patrol on 
the eastern front, center: Latvian SS 
volunteers during a training drill, 1944. 
bottom LEFT: SS photograph of three 
generations of Jewish women, seconds 
before they were murdered. The armed 
men in the background are Latvian police 
volunteers, bottom right: Suspected 
anti-Nazi partisans were hanged by Lat¬ 
vian collaborators in Minsk as a warning 
to the population. 


\ 


M, 










; . \ ! 




-.s. 














u 















bottom left: General Reinhard Gehlen, seen 
here as commander of the Fremde Heere Ost (For¬ 
eign Armies East), Germany’s most important 
intelligence organization on the eastern front, top: 
Gehlen at a 1943 FHO staff Christmas party, as the 
war was turning decisively against Nazi Germany. 
center: Gehlen with Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt 
(center, facing camera), Gehlen's liaison officer 
with Vlasov. Gehlen eventually became chief of 
West Germany's intelligence service, BND; Strik- 
Strikfeldt became a prominent leader of CIA- 
financed exile programs at Radio Liberation from 
Bolshevism, the precursor of todays Radio Lib¬ 
erty. bottom right; Edwin Sibert, the U.S. 
Army's chief of intelligence in Europe at war's end, 
who recruited Gehlen in 1945 and protected the 
Gehlen Organization during its formative stages. 
The Org was "my baby,'' Sibert said. 




Despite Gehlens denials, U.S. funds laundered through Gehlen’s Org underwrote careers 
intelligence for a number of SS men after the war. top left: Nazi racial expert and SS intelliger 
specialist Franz Six. Convicted of mass murder by an American military tribunal in 1948, Six v 
nonetheless given clemency in order to return to work for Gehlen s Org. top right: Al 
Brunner was accused of murdering more than 120,000 Jews in France, Greece, and Slovakia, t 
escaped to Syria after the war. There, in Damascus, Brunner became the Gehlen Org s resident 
a post similar in authority to a Cl A chief of station .U.S. funds also underwrote Brunners work 
Egypt during the 1950s. bottom left: SS clandestine operations specialist Otto Skorzeny, se 
here at a Nazi party gathering honoring him in 1943. Skorzeny eventually led CIA-financ 
recruitment of ex-Nazi SS and Abwehr officers for training of Egyptian security police unc 
Nasser. BOTTOM right: Skorzeny during his later career as an international arms merchant a 
neo-Nazi spokesman, about 1959. 





top: Nazi Germany s wartime rocket chief Walter Dornberger (left), seen here with 
Wernher von Braun in 1944. Dornberger set the schedule by which 20,000 inmates at the 
Nordhausen concentration camp were worked to death, bottom left: Nordhausen camp 
shortly after liberation by U.S. troops in April 1945. bottom right: Dornberger entered 
the United States under Project Paperclip and eventually emerged as a senior executive of 
the Bell Aerosystems Division of Textron. The photo here is from 1954. 


_ ... 




An 


SR**? 3 




- / \ - cl 


'.m? » 
















; K' #5- 



Influence on American life, left: Russian extreme nationalist leader Constantine Bold- 
yreff, shown here during a 1948 speaking tour of the United States aimed at raising $100 
million to overthrow Stalin. Boldyreflf s work in this country was “well known to Ameri¬ 
can intelligence . . . and vouched for by high officials/’ press reports said, right: Former 
SS intelligence specialist Nikolai N. Poppe testifies against Owen Lattimore during 
Senate Internal Security Subcommittee hearings, 1952. 


Klaus Barbie’s passport, bearing the false name of “Altmann,” with which he escaped from 
Europe. The ratline that saved Barbie became integral to dozens of intelligence opera¬ 
tions. 


?orocHA*ns 



• iJKIS'/Z \'-*A 
; *, ** 

PA?OS m3* fat. S0trCITx»- 






* * 




top: Charles Bohlen, an early advocate of clan¬ 
destine U. S. programs employing exiled extreme 
nationalists, eventually became a target of the 
radical right for his role in the wartime Yalta 
Conference. Senator Joseph McCarthy—acting 
on a tip from a former Goebbels propagandist— 
argued that Bohlen had delivered Poland to the 
Soviets at Yalta and was “possibly” a Stalinist 
agent. Here Bohlen meets the press in 1953 in 
the midst of a bitterly fought battle over his nomi¬ 
nation as US. ambassador to the USSR, left; 
CIA Director Allen Dulles: clandestine warfare 
as an integral part of U.S.-Soviet relations. 

















A presumption of innocence: former SS man and CIA 
contract agent Otto von Bolschwing. TOP: Von Bol- 
schwing as he appeared when he enlisted in the SS. 
CENTER: With a team of U.S. Army Counterin¬ 
telligence Corps agents in Austria, 1946. bottom: Von 
Bolschwing shortly before his death in a California 
hospital. 






& 






Ukrainian extreme nationalist leader Mykola Lebed. Despite Lebeds record as a convicted 
assassin and security chief in Nazi-occupied Lvov during a 1942 pogrom, the CIA brought him tc 
the United States in October 1949, then intervened to squelch an Immigration and Naturalization 
Service investigation when word of his background leaked. 




top LEFT; Wartime Latvian police chief Boleslavs Maikovskis (shown here in uniform in 
a Nazi propaganda photo) later led a CIA-funded exile organization in the United States. 
top right: Maikovskis faces deportation during a 1977 trial. He remains in the United 
States as this book goes to press, bottom left; Former CIA contract agent Edgars 
Laipenieks walks tight-lipped from the legal hearing room where a witness has identi¬ 
fied him as a participant in the hanging of a prisoner at the Riga prison in Nazi-occupied 
Latvia. The CIA contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service on Laipenieks s 
behalf, bringing an early end to the governments first investigation into his past. 
bottom right: Former Latvian police official Vilis Hazners, acquitted of charges stem¬ 
ming from the persecution of Jews during the Nazi occupation. 




First Captive Nations Day, 1960. Francis Cardinal S p ellman (left) blesses Captive Nations I 
marchers in native costume at a mass following the parade. 


Republican party leaders and Nazi sympa¬ 
thizers meet at a gathering on “organizing eth¬ 
nics” held in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1971. 
Republican party “ethnics” organizer Laszlo 
Pasztor (standing, left) and Republican 
National Committee Cochair Ann Armstrong 
(seated, right) meet with Austin App (stand¬ 
ing, second from left) and Ivan Docheff (stand¬ 
ing, fourth from right). App, a leader of the 
German-American organization DANK, was 
also a key spokesman for the “Holocaust is a 
myth” theory and a prominent Captive 
Nations leader until his death in 1984. Do¬ 
cheff, a longtime director of the extreme-right 
Bulgarian National Front in the United States, 
began his political career as a leader of the 
pro-Fascist political organization in Bulgaria. 









Captive Nations Day dinner, 1983. From right in photo: the author; Cossack nationalist and an 
Semitic leader Nicholas Nazarenko; and New York Captive Nations chairman Horst Uhlich. 






top: Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, 1942. bottom: National and regional boundaries as they 
appear today. 


EASTERN EUROPE TODAY 










CHAPTER FOURTEEN 


Pipelines to the United States 


American policy on the use of defectors from the East, including 
those who had been Nazi collaborators, was institutionalized in 
three National Security Council decisions during late 1949 and 
1950. The government still contends that revealing the full text of 
these orders would “damage national security” if they were pub¬ 
lished today, more than thirty-five years later. These high-level 
orders, which were reviewed and approved by both Presidents 
Truman and Eisenhower, are known as NSC 86, NSCID (pro¬ 
nounced “N-skid” and standing for NSC intelligence directive) 13, 
and NSCID 14. They are based on recommendations prepared by 
Frank Wisner’s OPC division of the CIA during the Bloodstone 
program. 

These decisions gave the CIA control of several highly secret 
government interagency committees responsible for handling 
emigres and defectors both overseas (NSCID 13) and inside the 
United States itself (NSCID 14). Like the earlier Bloodstone effort 
from which these directives sprang, NSCIDs 13 and 14 were not 
designed to rescue Nazis as such. They were instead aimed at mak¬ 
ing good use of all sorts of defectors from the East—with few ques¬ 
tions asked. The bureaucratic turf remaining after the CIA had 
taken its share was divided among the FBI, military intelligence, 
the State Department, and, to a small degree, the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS). 1 


199 




200 


BLOWBACK 


Most important in the present context, these orders authorized 
clandestine CIA funding of a variety of ostensibly private refugee 
relief organizations so as to ensure the cooperation of those agen¬ 
cies in the government’s efforts to locate and exploit presumably 
valuable defectors.* 2 Under the aegis of these secret orders, the 
CIA assumed the power to bring “temporarily” anyone it wished 
to the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter), regardless 
of any other laws on the books in the United States or any other 
country. 

NSCID 14, moreover, dramatically expanded the agency’s au¬ 
thority to conduct clandestine operations inside the United 
States—in an apparent violation of the CIA’s charter—as long as 
those affairs were conducted through emigre political organizations 
that supposedly still had some connection with the old country. The 
CIA has used that loophole to authorize hidden agency funding for 
the Committee for a Free Latvia, the Committee for a Free Al¬ 
bania, and other supposedly private exile organizations active in 
this country. A substantial amount of the agency’s mone y en ded up 
being , spent offToBEvin g the U.S. Congress and on other propa¬ 
ganda efforts inside this country—a clear violation of the law. 

When Congress created the CIA, it specifically legislated that the 
agency be barred from “police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers 
or internal security functions” in the United States. This was to be 
a foreign intelligence agency, not a still more powerful version of 
the FBI. Most Americans, including the members of the congressio¬ 
nal watchdog committees responsible for oversight of CIA opera¬ 
tions, have long contended that this provision banned the agency 
from involvement in political activities inside this country. Even 
Senator Leverett Saltonstall, long the ranking Republican on the 
Senate’s intelligence oversight committee, remarked to then CIA 
Director John McCone (in 1962): “Is it not true, Mr. McCone . . . 
that any work on ethnic groups in this country would not be within 
the province of the CIA? . . . Am I correct in that?” (McCone 

*The CIA maintained at least a half dozen organizational assets involved in immigration 
of selected Eastern European refugees into the United States, although these groups obvi¬ 
ously handled the entire range of exiles, not just former Nazi collaborators. One such group, 
the International Rescue Committee (IRC), became so intertwined with clandestine CIA 
affairs that it arguably operated as an adjunct of the agency. 

According to Displaced Persons Commission records, the IRC specialized in handling 
refugee cases that had been recommended by the various “governments-in-exile” and “in¬ 
ternational organizations” funded by the Free Europe Committee. The favored groups 
included the International Peasant Union, International Federation of Free Journalists, and 
International Congress of Free Trade Unions. 



Pipelines to the United States 201 

replied, “I cannot answer that, Senator,” and the matter was 
dropped.) 3 

But unbeknownst to most of the Congress and the American 
people, however, the agency has repeatedly chosen to interpret the 
NSC 86, NSCID 13, and NSCID 14 orders as authorization for 
substantial political involvement in immigrant communities in 
America. As early as 1949—only two years after Congress had 
thoroughly debated keeping the CIA out of American politics—the 
agency began underwriting several major programs designed to 
bring favored European exiles into this country. Then, in 1950, this 
immigration work was coupled with a multimillion-dollar publicity 
campaign in the United States tailored to win popular approval for 
cold war measures sponsored by the CIA, including increased fund¬ 
ing for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberation, and the emigre politi¬ 
cal groups in the governments-in-exile program. 

These efforts have left a lasting mark on American political life, 
especially among the United States’ large first-generation Slavic 
and Eastern European immigrant population. Hundreds of thou¬ 
sands of decent people of Central and Eastern European heritage 
entered this country legally during the 1950s, often at the price of 
great personal sacrifice. But the measures undertaken by the CIA 
in connection with NSC 86, NSCID 13, and NSCID 14 led to the 
infiltration of thousands of Waffen SS veterans and other Nazi col¬ 
laborators into their communities in the United States at the same 
time. This in turn laid the foundation for a revival of extremist 
right-wing political movements inside immigrant communities in 
this country that continue to be active. 4 

The CIA, and Frank Wisner’s clandestine action shop (the OPC) 
in particular, were never content with the immigration to the 
United States of a handful of especially valuable assets. The 100 
Persons Act was simply too restrictive, Wisner believed. The 
agency was running international programs involving thousands of 
foreign agents, with tens of thousands of subagents. Many of these 
men and women were risking their lives for the modest paychecks 
they got from the Americans, as he saw it. The promise of free 
immigration to the United States was crucial in recruiting new 
overseas help for the CIA and in retaining the loyalty of many 
persons already on the U.S. payroll. 

According to State Department records, Wisner wanted to grant 
U.S. citizenship as a reward to not just ‘TOO Persons” per year, but 
to thousands, even tens of thousands of informants, covert opera- 



202 BLOWBACK 


tors, guerrillas and agents of influence. Whatever else might be said 
of Wisner, he was never one to let sticky legal technicalities stand 
in the way of what he believed to be the best interests of the 
country. He set out to create a wide variety of both legal and illegal 
dodges to bring men and women favored by his organization into 
the country. 

This immigration campaign became an integral part of CIA clan¬ 
destine strategy of the period. The agency manipulated U.S. immi¬ 
gration laws and procedures on behalf of thousands of favored 
emigres, selecting some for entry to this country and rejecting 
others. While only a fraction of this influx appears to have been 
Nazis or Nazi collaborators (the true number is impossible to know 
until the agency opens its files), it is clear that a number of identifia¬ 
ble war criminals were brought to the United States with CIA 
assistance during this period. 5 Equally important, the security agen¬ 
cies of the government gave tacit support to private refugee relief 
committees the stated goals of which included assisting thousands 
of Waffen SS veterans in immigrating to the United States. 

Bloodstone had begun this process on a relatively modest scale, 
with about 250 sponsored immigrants per year. By 1950, however, 
CIA representatives approached Congress with a plan to authorize 
special importation of some 15,000 CIA-sponsored refugees per 
year, in addition to those entering under the Displaced Persons Act 
and other more conventional immigration channels. They were to 
be emigres “whose presence in the U.S. would be deemed in the 
national interest,” according to Department of State documenta¬ 
tion, 6 “as a result of the prominent or active part they played in the 
struggle against Communism.” Congress whittled that authoriza¬ 
tion down to 500 “carefully selected” refugees over a three-year 
period. Even so, the CIA’s professed need for 15,000 annual en¬ 
trance visas is some measure of its ambitions in this field, fimigres 
sponsored under this law came to be known as “2(d)” cases, after 
the section of the immigration code that provided the legal authori¬ 
zation. 

The law established a new category of immigrant, the “Displaced 
Persons National Interest Case.” Officially the departments of State 
and Defense were supposed to sponsor these immigrants, but in 
reality this was a CIA program. Agency-funded organizations, 
“working closely with the National Committee for a Free Europe,” 
like the Committee for a Free Latvia, International Peasant Union, 
and so on, were singled out for patronage under the new law, 



Pipelines to the United States 203 


according to State Department records. The CIA also sponsored 
immigrants who had cooperated with U.S. intelligence in espionage 
or covert operations. Finally, the agency brought survivors of the 
failed raids on Albania into the United States under the 2(d) pro¬ 
gram. 7 

Congress’s refusal to support fully the agency’s 15,000-visa-per- 
year immigration effort was not the final word on the matter. In¬ 
deed, the CIA expanded upon the authority it had been granted by 
the National Security Council under NSC 86 and NSCIDs 13 and 
14. If the agency was barred from directly importing 15,000 exiles 
annually, it reasoned, it could still employ the NSC’s top secret 
authorization to sponsor indirectly many of the same emigres 
through ostensibly private relief organizations. Some U.S.-based 
refugee assistance groups specializing in aid to Latvian, Lithuanian, 
Belorussian, and Ukrainian emigres made no secret of their desire 
to import precisely the same anti-Communist activists, some of 
them Waffen SS veterans, in whom the CIA was most interested. 
Wisner found the solution to his legal problems by secretly under¬ 
writing the activities of such organizations, then letting them do the 
legwork involved in bringing their countrymen to the United 
States. In this way, the Mykola Lebeds, Gustav Hilgers, and other 
exiles who entered the country with direct agency assistance soon 
became only the tip of a much larger iceberg. 

Beginning at least as early as 1950, the CIA earmarked money for 
favored emigres and passed it through a variety of cutouts—includ¬ 
ing both private foundations and “overt” governmental pro¬ 
grams—to selected refugee relief groups serving Eastern European 
immigrants. Control of this effort was centralized in the NSC’s 
executive committee responsible for oversight of the NSC 10/2 
program and other CIA covert operations. 8 A full accounting of 
these funds has yet to be made, but the public reports of the Na¬ 
tional Committee for a Free Europe, the U.S. Displaced Persons 
Commission, and the fragmentary declassified records of the NSC 
indicate that major recipients included the International Rescue 
Committee (IRC), the Nation al^Catholic Welfare^Conference, the 
United Lithuanian ReliefFund of"Artrerica,'ahd a number of similar 
ethnic and religious-based charities. At least $100 million was spent 
on such efforts during the decade of the 1950s according to pres¬ 
ently available reports, 9 and the true total may well be considerably 
higher. 

The private refugee aid groups were closely monitored by the 



204 


BLOWBACK 


CIA. As a later NSC decision on refugee and defector programs puts 
it, these programs “contribute to the achievement of U.S. national 
security objectives both toward Communist-dominated areas and 
the Free World. . . . These contracts, under which the [private] 
agencies are reimbursed only for services actually performed on 
behalf of escapees, are carefully supervised to assure that they give 
maximum support to the objectives of the program.” 10 

Yet in several cases Nazi collaborators and sympathizers took 
control of key aspects of refugee relief agencies serving their na¬ 
tionalities in the United States. Among Latvians a secretive organi¬ 
zation known as the Daugavas Vanagi (“Hawks of the Daugava 
River”) gradually built up an influential political machine in Lat¬ 
vian displaced persons camps in Europe and, later, in Latvian com¬ 
munities in this country as well. The Vanagis began as a self-help 
and welfare society for Latvian SS veterans in Germany in 1945; 
many of its leaders had been involved in Fascist activity in Latvia 
since the 1930s. Like the OUN Ukrainian nationalists, some of the 
Vanagis’ leaders had served as the Nazis’ most enthusiastic execu¬ 
tioners inside their homeland, only to be spurned by the chauvinis¬ 
tic Germans. The Latvian extremists held on tenaciously during the 
Nazi occupation, however, and many were rewarded with posts as 
mayors, concentration camp administrators, and—most fre¬ 
quently—officers of the Latvian Waffen SS division sponsored by 
the Nazis during the last years of the conflict. Most of the Vanagis’ 
leadership fled to Germany with the retreating Nazis at war’s end. 11 

In the first five years after the war the Vanagis gradually came 
to control Latvian displaced persons camps in Germany. The semi¬ 
secret society also served as an organizing and coordinating force 
among the Latvian Waffen SS veterans who enlisted in the U.S. 
Labor Service units. Many Vanagi members found their way to 
Britain, Canada, and the United States in the guise of displaced 
persons during this period. 

Highly disciplined and organized, the Vanagis maintained their 
linkages during their diaspora and used their international connec¬ 
tions to expand their influence inside Latvian communities abroad. 
In the United States several Vanagis who had once been high-level 
Nazi collaborators created interlocking directorships dominated by 
party members among the American Latvian Association, the Lat- 
vian-American Republican National Federation, and the CIA- 
funded Committee for a Free Latvia. 12 These organizations, which 
came to be controlled or strongly influenced by the Vanagis, exer- 



Pipelines to the United States 205 


cised considerable unofficial authority over which potential Latvian 
immigrants would obtain visas to the United States—and which 
would not. Not surprisingly, their exercise of this power has consis¬ 
tently tended to reinforce Vanagi authority inside Latvian-Ameri- 
can communities. 

It is clear today that several of these groups and a number of 
individual Vanagi Nazi collaborators enjoyed clandestine U.S. gov¬ 
ernment subsidies from the CIA. This money was laundered 
through the CIA’s Radio Free Europe and Assembly of Captive 
European Nations channels or through private organizations such 
as the International Rescue Committee, among others. 13 Whether 
or not the CIA approved of the Vanagis’ sometimes openly racist 
and pro-Fascist political behavior, the fact remains that it helped 
underwrite the careers of at least three—and probably more— 
senior Vanagi leaders that the U.S. government itself has accused 
of Nazi war crimes. The three beneficiaries were Vilis Hazners, 
Boleslavs Maikovskis, and Alfreds Berzins. 

Vilis Hazners is an SS veteran and a winner of the German Iron 
Cross. The U.S. government has accused him of serving as a senior 
security police officer in Riga, Latvia, for much of the war. The 
government records include reports that the men under Hazners’s 
command committed serious atrocities, including herding dozens 
of Jews into a synagogue and setting it aflame. Hazners successfully 
defended himself from these charges, however, during a deporta¬ 
tion proceeding in the late 1970s. 14 

Hazners entered the United States in the early 1950s. Whether 
or not the CIA assisted him in this is unknown, but it is clear that 
it sponsored him and helped pay his salary once he was here. Haz¬ 
ners assumed the chairmanship of the Committee for a Free Latvia 
and a post as delegate to the ACEN in New York. Both organiza¬ 
tions—including the wages of their officials—are now known to 
have been financed in part by the CIA. (The sponsorship of these 
groups was secret during the 1950s but was eventually admitted by 
the government during the series of scandals that rocked the 
agency during the 1970s.) 15 “Liberation” committee chairmen like 
Hazners typically received a salary of $12,000 per year in the early 
1950s, a pay rate that was better than that of most mid-level State 
Department employees of the day. 

Hazners did not hide his Fascist background. He practically 
flaunted it. At the same time he was active in ACEN, he served as 
chairman of the Latvian Officers Association, a thinly disguised 



206 BLOWBACK 


self-help group made up in large part of Waffen SS veterans. He also 
served as an officer of the American branch of the Vanagis and as 
editor of the group’s magazine for many years. 16 He was meanwhile 
active in a number of more respectable groups like the American 
Latvian Association, which he served as an officer, specializing in 
immigration and “refugee relief’ work on behalf of favored Latvian 
emigres in Europe. 

Then there is Boleslavs Maikovskis. Also a Latvian police chief 
decorated with the Iron Cross, Maikovskis has been charged by the 
U.S. government with having been instrumental in pogroms at 
Audrini and Rezekne, Latvia, in which dozens of people were mur¬ 
dered in cold blood. He is a longtime Vanagi activist, former vice- 
chairman of the American Latvian Association, and a former dele¬ 
gate to the ACEN. The U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi hunting unit 
has been trying to deport Maikovskis from the United States for 
more than eight years as this book goes to press, but the cumber¬ 
some judicial process involved in expulsion of Nazi criminals has 
permitted him to continue to live in New York State until his ap¬ 
peals are exhausted. 17 

Alfreds Berzins, now deceased, was propaganda minister in the 
prewar Latvian dictatorship of Karlis Ulmanis. During World War 
II Berzins “help[ed] put people in concentration camps,” according 
to his CROWCASS wanted report, and was “partially responsible 
for the deaths of hundreds of Latvians and thousands of Jews.” The 
United States asserted that Berzins was “responsible for murder, ill 
treatment and deportation of 2000 persons.” He was, the United 
States said, “a fanatic Nazi.” 18 

After the war Berzins went to great lengths to establish himself 
as democratically minded. He put his propaganda skills back to 
work on the ACEN’s public relations committee. He simultane¬ 
ously served as editor of the journal Baltic Review and as a leading 
member of the Committee for a Free Latvia. His books on Latvia 
are found in most major U.S. libraries ( one haj ^_anJi Rroductj pi>by. 
Senator Th omas Dodd) , and he served for years as deputy chairman 
of the American Latvian Association and the World Latvian Associ¬ 
ation. 19 

These Vanagis did not hesitate to use their political clout and 
government contacts to sponsor former SS men and Nazi collabora¬ 
tors for U.S. citizenship. In fact, they waged a successful campaign 
to reverse U.S. immigration regulations to permit Baltic SS men, 



Pipelines to the United States 207 


who had long been the primary beneficiaries of Vanagi assistance 
anyway, to enter the United States legally. 

The Latvian-language Daugavas Vanagi Biletens, for example, 
helpfully provided its readers with English-language texts to send 
to U.S. officials protesting exclusion of Baltic SS men from U.S. visas 
and citizenship. Their argument, in brief, was that the Baltic SS 
men had not “really” been Nazis, only patriotic Latvians and Li¬ 
thuanians concerned about protecting their countries from a Soviet 
invasion. “My [brother] who is already a U.S. soldier,” the Vanagis 
urged their supporters to write to Washington, “is going to defend 
the Free World against Communist aggression [in Korea]. Whay 
[sic] are those Latvians who did the same in 1944—defend our 
country Latvia, against Communist aggression—not now admitted 
to the U.S.? 20 These are not more fascists [sic] than those American 
boys who now die from Soviet manufactured and Chinese Commu¬ 
nist fired bullets,” the appeal continued. 

Their effort bore fruit in late 1950, when Displaced Persons Com¬ 
missioner Edward M. O’Connor forced through an administrative 
change that redefined the Baltic SS as not being a “movement 
hostile to the United States.” The decision cleared Baltic SS veter¬ 
ans for entry into this country. O’Connor’s maneuver was opposed 
by DP Commissioner Harry N. Rosenfield, but without success. 21 
Charitable organizations such as Latvian Relief Incorporated and 
the United Lithuanian Relief Fund of America made sure that the 
favored SS veterans were not only permitted entry but oftenj^vga 
f ree passag e, boax^ food^ emergency funds, and assistance in 
fipBS ^joB^s ^wejl. —- “ ~~ 

Similar events and the use of similar interlocking directorships 
brought extreme rightists to power in a number of Lithuanian, 
Ukrainian, Croatian, and Belorussian (White Russian) emigre organ¬ 
izations in this country, just as they had in the Latvian groups 
mentioned above. Their common wartime experience as Nazi col¬ 
laborators and, often, as Waffen SS men was the glue that held these 
groups together. Their members adapted reasonably well to the 
American political scene, putting themselves forward as militant 
nationalists and anti-Communists, as was true enough, while declar¬ 
ing their personal innocence of war crimes. 

At the same time many Americans preferred to concentrate on 
the role of those former Nazi collaborators as anti-Communists who 
had worked with the Germans out of “patriotic” motives—as the 



208 BLOWBACK 


Daugavas Vanagi Biletens letter cited above illustrates—while de¬ 
nying evidence of their role in atrocities and crimes against human¬ 
ity on the ground that such accusations were Communist propa¬ 
ganda. Not all Eastern European anti-Communists were former 
Nazi collaborators obviously. But it is true that the intense anticom¬ 
munism of the cold war gave those who were Nazi collaborators a 
means of rationalizing what they had done during the war and, in 
effect, a place to hide. Respectable conservatives in this country 
who had never been Nazf"collaboraT6rroffen ^Turned a blind eye to 
this process and were sometimes t he mos t articulate advocates for 
SS veter an s^and other collaborators. 22 ~~ 

1 f’or twainpleTTKe" Uiifted Lithuanian Relief Fund of America 
(known as BALF, for its Lithuanian initials) was created in 1944 for 
the specific purpose of excluding leftists from any role in Li¬ 
thuanian relief assistance programs. BALF was, and remains, 
closely tied to the pre-World War II Lithuanian Activist Front, an 
extreme nationalist group whose leaders were similar in many re¬ 
spects to those of the Vanagi. 

BALF became instrumental, by its own account, in virtually 
every aspect of postwar Lithuanian immigration to the United 
States and enjoy ed heavy fu nding from both U.S. government and 
Cath olic Churchjigeiicies.Jt claimedTesponsibhity foTseIecfioh~df, 
and assistance to, some 30,000 Lithuanian immigrants to America 
in the wake of World War II. 23 The organization helped many 
Lithuanians of many different political persuasions, including some 
who had been persecuted and imprisoned by the Nazis. Even so, 
aid to Lithuanian Waffen SS v eterans was central to BALF’s relief 
ywo rk du ring t he 1950s. The largest single group of alleged war 
criminals now facing deportation from the United States by the 
Department of Justice, in fact, are Lithuanian veterans of the SS 
who entered the country with BALF assistance during the cold 
war. 24 

BALF’s longtime business manager, the Reverend Lionginas Jan--. 
kus, was a measure oFflT^pohlicid poinT'of viewAhat the organiza¬ 
tion embraced in its refugee relief work. Testimony taken during 
a 1964 Lithuanian war crimes trial accused Jankus of leading a 
series of pogroms in the Jazdai forest region that took the lives of 
some 1,200 people during the Nazi occupation of his homeland. 
Jankus himself, who was in the United States at the time of the trial 
and out of reach of the Lithuanian prosecutors, denied he had been 
involved in the pogrom, if indeed, it had taken place at all. He said 



Pipelines to the United States 209 


that the whole case was politically motivated propaganda from the 
USSR designed to discredit Lithuanians. 25 

The preponderance of evidence, however, is that the jpriest was 
lying. Prosecutors at the trial introduced physical evidence, includ¬ 
ing photographs and documents, that they claimed proved Jankus’s 
role in these murders. Dozens of sworn statements from both Li¬ 
thuanian Jewish survivors and Nazis involved in the pogrom itself 
were also submitted to the court. An international outcry against 
Jankus ensued, but BALF kept him on staff as business manager. 
Jankus died in the late 1960s, and the dispute over his veracity has 
never been conclusively resolved. 

It is evident that the CIA knew that substantial numbers of SS 
men and former Nazi collaborators were streaming into this coun¬ 
try through organizations that were themselves on the CIA’s pay¬ 
roll.* Highly competent U.S. intelligence officers followed each 

*There was also a large program to import former Belorussian (White Russian) Nazis as 
political warfare operatives, says a former Justice Department Office of Special Investigations 
staff member, John Loftus, While questions about some aspects of the Belorussian story 
remain, Loftus has nonetheless used the Freedom of Information Act to bring to light several 
important records that he asserts establish a prima facie case for the existence of this opera¬ 
tion. The Belorussian project is strikingly similar to the Latvian and Lithuanian Waffen SS 
immigration discussed above. 

The first document is simply a chapter on Belorussian Nazis from the U.S. Army’s top secret 
Consolidated Orientation and Guidance Manual, which was prepared by the 970th ClC unit 
in the U.S. zone of Germany in 1948. It shows that U.S. intelligence was well aware of the 
massacres and pogroms that took place in Belorussia during the war, and it lists scores of 
Belorussian collaborators then believed to have been involved in those crimes. 

The second record is a secret sixteen-page letter from Belorussian Nazi collaborationist 
leader Radislaw Ostrowsky to Frank Wisner’s OPC division of the CIA dated 1952. It details 
the history of the Belorussian quisling movement and bluntly proposes that the CIA finance 
and protect Ostrowsky’s “government-in-exile” for clandestine operations against the USSR. 

In this letter Ostrowsky directly admits that the SS and Gestapo sponsored his organization 
during the war and states that he personally helped build a large SS unit used in antipartisan 
warfare. But, Ostrowsky writes, “it is unimportant that we were collaborators during the war, 
and it is utterly unimportant with who [s/c] we collaborated—Germans or devils. What is 
important is that we were never collaborators with Stalin. 

“The intelligence branches of every government must of course have their own agents in 
the territory of the countries in which they are interested,” he continues. “This circumstance 
led me to turn to the intelligence service of the USA with the proposal that we unite our 
forces.” Ostrowsky then pleads for money from the United States and proposes that the CIA 
work “in conjunction with our modest forces . . . [in] complete frankness and trust.” 

The agency appears to have accepted the offer. A few months later, former SS General 
Franz Kushel (who was Ostrowsky’s most bitter political rival and a major Belorussian war 
criminal in his own right) complained to the FBI that the CIA-financed American Committee 
for Liberation from Bolshevism had cut off his funding and was instead pouring money into 
Ostrowsky’s coffers. 

Less than a year after that more than 100 Belorussian exiles gathered in the United States 
for a special political congress. The men and women at that gathering, practically without 



210 BLOWBACK 


twist and turn of these emigre organizations and knew exactly who 
was linked to which political faction in the old countries. The affairs 
of Eastern European exiles were, after all, a major focus of the CIA’s 
work at the time. Their relief groups and political organizations 
were thoroughly infiltrated with agency informers. Indeed, if the 
CIA did not know what was taking place in the immigration pro¬ 
cess, that in itself raises serious questions concerning its ability to 
collect and analyze information from refugee sources. 

But nothing was done by the CIA, so far as can be determined, 
to stop the influx of ex-Nazis and collaborators during the 1950s. If 
anything, the government subsidies to their organizations actually 
increased. Some men and women who had once enlisted as agents 
for the Nazi occupiers of their homelands put their skills back to 
work as inside sources for the CIA and FBI once they had arrived 
here. Federal agencies are, of course, unwilling to release the 
names of their confidential informants, but a 1978 study by Ahe 
General Accounting Office 26 cl early es tablishes that working rela¬ 
tions befwSCT CjKSClpQn ^^agencie s. andTheseHFormerFascistsdid 
gxisL The GAO found that of a sampleoTTrT persons reportedTo 
have been war criminals—not simply ex-collaborators—discovered 
in the United States, some “seventeen were contacted by the CIA 
in the United States” for use as informants, many of whom had 
previously been CIA contract agents overseas. Five more cooper¬ 
ated with the agency in a variety of other capacities. Others worked 
for t he F BI. In all, about 20 percent of the GAO’s sample of alleged 
war criminals had worked as informants for U.S. security organiza¬ 
tions inside this country. 

Meanwhile, a parallel and sometimes overlapping series of 
events was taking place inside the army’s guerrilla warfare train¬ 
ing program. The e mbarrass ing Jaeident: in_JGerma nv with the 


exception, were the chiefs and staffs of the wartime puppet government that Ostrowsky had 
pitched to the CIA. The list of delegates is led by Ostrowsky himself and includes at least 
a half dozen other known war crimes suspects connected with his political faction. Many of 
them had been specifically named in the earlier army study on Belorussian war criminals. 

These records do not necessarily prove that the clandestine action arm of the CIA orga¬ 
nized this conference but they do raise obvious questions about exactly what role the agency 
may have had in obtaining visas to the United States for these exiles. In at least one known 
case. State Department political officers—a frequently used cover post for OPC and CIA 
operatives—did directly intervene to obtain a U.S. visa for Emanuel Jasiuk, who had served 
for much of the war as a Nazi puppet administrator in Kletsk during massacres which took 
the lives of some 5,000 Jews. 


Pipelines to the United States 211 


“Young_Germa ns” assassination s quads slowly convinced U.S. in- 
telligencetKMlIieTLabor^Service unitsTn Europe were unsuitable 
for the major guerrilla warfare and espionage projects that the 
army and CIA were attempting to hide in them. The army com¬ 
mand eventually decided that much tighter control would be nec¬ 
essary to ensure the security and effectiveness of postnuclear 
guerrilla operations. Thebest ofjthe emigrej oot soldie rs should be 
brought to the Unit ecJ^States, the ^arm y concl ^ed,^nlistedTn~the 
iXsTArmy^and^provMed with intensive training far^bgyS53I^EaF 
was^p^ssible^nTtheTlabor Service units^ The armyreasoned that 
thI?Thbre~T5iuml^^ would also permit the 

granting of security clearances to translators with backgrounds in 
Russian, Ukrainian, and other Eastern European languages. The 
new enlistees were to remain under U.S. Army control, even 
though the military was eager to cooperate with the CIA on sp e-j 
cific missions. 27 


In 1950 the army convinced Congress to pass an unusual piece 
of cold war legislation, known as the Lodge Act, that permitted 
2,500 alien nationals (later raised to 12,500) residing outside the 1 
United States to enlist in the U.S. Army. It guaranteed them U.S, 
citizenship if they successfully completed five years of service. 28 / 
The overwhelming majority of the Lodge Act recruits who volun¬ 
teered over the following decade have proved themselves to be 
loyal citizens. Most are intensely patriotic, many have been deco¬ 
rated for heroism in battle, and some have given their lives in 
service to their adopted country. It is ironic, then, that the U.S. 
Army chose to mix Gestapo agents and Nazi collaborators with this 
group of decent men. 

The Labor Service units, which were by that time officially ac¬ 
cepting Waffen SS veterans, were identified as the “largest and 
logical source of alien recruits” for the Lodge Act, according to a 
1951 army adjutant general report. Both before and after passage 
of the bill the military drew up detailed studies that evaluated the 
number of potential recruits, their health, military training, lan¬ 
guage skills, and even “political reliability.” 

Stunning examples of the self-deception and ethnic discrimina¬ 
tion that took place during the army’s screening of Lodge Act 
volunteers may be found in the military’s studies of the “political 
reliability” of emigres during this period. One top secret army 
study, for example, determined that the entire population of dis¬ 
placed persons from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia meeting the age 



212 BLOWBACK 


and sex requirements* (including, presumably, the thoroughly 
nazified Latvian officers discussed previously) were “politically ac¬ 
ceptable” for enlistment in the U.S. Army. 

The Adjutant General’s Office, which was ultimately responsible 
for screening emigre recruits, also determined that such Baltic 
volunteers were “100 percent” reliable on political grounds. With 
backing like that, the Latvian Labor Service veterans had little 
difficulty entering the army and eventually obtaining U.S. citizen¬ 
ship. Other nationalities (Ukrainians and Yugoslavs, for example) 
were believed to require closer scrutiny. The army considered Jews 
at the bottom of the list; only “50%” of them were considered 
politically reliable, according to the adjutant general’s study, and in 
practice Jews werej^e nerally exc luded from^entering the United 
StateiTur^^ 

The percentages ofpblTfically reliable” foreign recruits in the 
Labor Service units were ranked by the army according to national¬ 
ity, as follows. 30 Ratings of “—100%” mean that something fewer 
than all the volunteers of that ethnic group were considered politi¬ 
cally suitable, while a “ + 50%” listing means that only about one- 
half that nationality was believed to be reliable. 


Nationality 

Esthonian [sic] 

Latvian 

Lithuanian 

Ukrainian 

Yugoslav 

Poles 

Jews (Poles) 

Jews (Hungarian, Romanian, etc.) 

Russian 

Stateless 

Italians 


Political Reliability 

100 % 

100 % 

100 % 

- 100 % 

- 100 % 

- 100 % 

+ 50% 

+ 50% 

? 

? 

p 


The first known group of Lodge Act recruits arrived by a military 
airlift at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, in October 1951. Most were 
Ukrainians and Poles, but virtually every Eastern European nation¬ 
ality was represented. After an initial orientation at the camp the 
army shipped these recruits, like most of those who followed, to 
Fort Dix, New Jersey, for eight to sixteen weeks of basic training. 
Others were sent directly to a special army intelligence Language 

*That is, male, age eighteen to thirty-four, unmarried, and physically fit. 



Pipelines to the United States 213 


Qualification Unit at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Following basic 
training, the recruits were dispersed across the United States and 
Europe. Suhstan^ ^ to the De fense Lan guage 

School in ^Monterey, California; others tothe unique ArmecTForces 
Demonstration HJn^ Virginia, where defectors 

from Eastern Europe taught Red Army tactics to U.S. strike force 
teams. 

According to de classified orders no w found in the National^Ar^ 
chives, about 25^ercenFoTlhe enh^fees^were^Hanneled into a 
variety of especially confidential assignments, including slots as 
atomic, chemical, and biological warfare specialists. Others became 
translators of captured secret documents and instructors for U.S. 
intelligence analysts. 31 

Many of the remainder of the Lodge Act recruits underwent 
special guerrilla training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and be¬ 
came the nucleus of the present-day Qreen J^xgts. Indeed, the 
famous green beret itself is in part a legacy of the European military 
fatigues that so many of America’s first Special Forces recruits had 
worn during their service prior to their arrival in this country. The 
commander of the program at Fort Bragg, interestingly enough, 
was Colonel Aaron Bank, an army paramilitary expert who only a 
few months previously had directed the CIC units responsible for 
running Klaus Barbie, Mykola Lebed, and similar intelligence assets 
in Germany. 32 

Colonel Charles M. Simpson, the unofficial historian of the Green 
Berets and a thirty-year army veteran, leaves little question about 
the training of army and CIA volunteers placed under Colonel 
Bank’s care at Fort Bragg. The instruction, Simpson writes, began 
with selection of sites for clandestine airdrops of agents behind 
enemy lines, then went on to “raids and ambushes [and] guerrilla 
organization.” Particular attention was placed, he says, on “kidnap 
and assassination operations.” 33 

Unfortunately for the army, Lodge Act recruiting went more 
slowly than expected, and only 211 men (out of 5,272 applicants) 
had passed screening and actually enlisted by August 1952. Special 
Forces recruiters responded by easing the language and literacy 
requirements and by streamlining many of the security checks that 
had previously slowed the processing of volunteers. 

Army Adjutant General Major General Edward Witsell ruled that 
the civilian immigration laws that barred ex-Nazis and collaborators 
from obtaining U.S. citizenship would not apply to the army’s 



214 BLOWBACK 


0 
\b 1 


Lodge Act recruits. “[Individuals enlisted under these regulations 
are not subject to exclusion from the United States under the provi- 
jsions of the Internal Security Act or under the Immigration and 
Nationality Act . . . ,” Witsell ordered, taking responsibility for 
screening emigres out of the hands of civilian authorities alto¬ 
gether. True, “members ... of any totalitarian party” were still 
barred from the United States under the army regulations, but 
£X-members of Fascist organizations were not, nor were veterans 
of armies that had made war on the United States. 34 Wits elks 
unusual and pr obably unconstitutiona l decision seems tojiave gone 
entirel^unnptlced at the fang, perhaps becansjuTfil^ 
very ex istence^Tthe ruli ng was withheld from the public under a 
classification of “Restricted^—Security fnformatidnT ' 

One result of this policy was that certain racis Uperspec tives bor¬ 
dering on Nazi-style anticommunism pers isted in the early Green 
Berets. As Richard Harwood reported in the Washington Post some 
years later, “during those years, the Special Forces attracted re¬ 
cruits from Eastern Europe and old-line NCOs with single-minded 
views about ‘fighting Communism/ ... ‘We had an awful lot of John 
Birch types then,’ says an officer with several years of experience 
in the Special Forces,” Harwood writes. “ ‘They thought like Joe 
McCarthy/” 35 

The fact that the army’s Lodge Act decision encouraged scores 
of former Nazis and Nazi collaborators to obtain U.S. citizenship 
with the prior knowledge of U.S. officials can be clearly docu¬ 
mented with the army’s own records. The army’s decision on where 
to send a recruit depended in part on the answers he gave in an 
interview at the time he arrived at Camp Kilmer. Each new enlis¬ 
tee was asked a series of simple questions about his background in 
police security work, guerrilla warfare, or resistance movements; 
his language skills; and his willingness to volunteer for guerrilla 
warfare or paratrooper operations on behalf of the United States. 
Summaries of several hundred of these interviews of Lodge Act 
recruits were discovered recently in secret files of army archives in 
Washington, D.C. One group of enlistees processed at Camp 
Kilmer in March 1954 is fairly typical. Of forty-four new enlistees 
processed that month, three admitted membership in the Wehr- 
macht between 1942 and 1945; another was a Gestapo veteran; two 
more were veterans of other Axis armies who had fought under 
Nazi leadership against Allied forces during the war. In short, about 



Pipelines to the United States 215 


14 percent of the recruits in this squad admitted past membership 
in organizations that might have otherwise barred them from ob¬ 
taining U.S. citizenship.* 36 

As puzzling as it may seem today, there is no question that the 
American army officers who recruited former Nazis into the Special 
Forces were motivated primarily by a hatred of totalitarianism. As 
they saw it, the Special Forces units were something of a creative 
maverick within the hidebound army; its members disdained shiny 
boots, army protocol, and just about anything that smacked of brass. 
The Special Forces motto, “De Oppresso Liber ” which the Green 
Berets translate as “From Oppression We Will Liberate Them,” 
was not chosen for its public relations value; the slogan, like almost 
everything else about the forces, was generally kept secret in the 
early days. This catchphrase reflected the beliefs of the officers, or 
perhaps more accurately, it reflected what the officers thought that 
their beliefs were. In those simpler days the army staff could argue 
in complete seriousness that use of former Nazi collaborators as 
guerrillas behind Soviet lines would “prove . . . that our American 
way of life is approaching the ideal desired by all mankind.” 37 

In sum, the influx of former Nazis, Waffen SS veterans, and other 
Nazi collaborators into the United States during this period was not 
simply an oversight or an administrative glitch created by the ineffi¬ 
ciencies of the INS. It was, rather, a central, though usually unac¬ 
knowledged, aspect of U.S. immigration policy of the day, particu¬ 
larly as the program applied to refugees from the USSR and the 
Soviet-occupied states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. About 
^00^ 000 Ea stern E uropean ex iles entered the United States under 
the DisplaceHT^ersons Act ancfthe laferTfefugee Relief Act during 
this period, and it is obvious that relatively few of these immigrants 
were former Nazis or Waffen SS men and that of those who did fall 
into those categories, fewer still were war criminals. But even a 
small percentage of 500,000 people is a large number. Allan Ryan, 
the former director of the Justice Department’s war criminal inves¬ 
tigation unit, estimates that n early 10,0I lO^^a±^ ^Y criminals en- 

*The past careers of the other recruits in the March 1954 enlistment are also worthy of 
note. Three were veterans of British-sponsored Polish exile armies in Italy, which were well 
known to have been thoroughly penetrated by both German and Soviet intelligence. One 
was a defector from the Czech secret police, and another had defected from the Soviet 
NKVD. Two were recent defectors from the Czech army and two more were Polish army 
veterans from an unknown period. Sixteen of them—including the self-acknowledged ex- 
Gestapo man, Libor Pokorny—volunteered for training as airborne guerrilla warfare experts. 



216 BLOWBACK 


tered the United States during this period, although he rejects the 
suggestion that U.S. intelligence agencies had anything to do with 
this. 38 

One of the most important characteristics of the war criminals 
who did come to the United States is that they did not arrive here 
as isolated individuals. As has been seen in the cases of the Croatian 
Ustachis, the Ukrainian OUN, and the Latvian Vanagis, to name 
only three, many of these immigrants were, in fact, part of ex¬ 
perienced, highly organized groups with distinct political agendas 
that differed little from the Fascist programs they had promoted in 
their homelands. The anti-Communist paranoia of the McCarthy 
period gave these groups fertile soil in which to put down roots and 
to grow. In time they be gan to plav a small but real role in the 
political life of this country. 



CHAPTER FIFTEEN 


The Politics of “Liberation’’ 


The Central Intelligence Agency did not sever its ties with the 
extremist exile organizations once they had arrived in this country. 
Instead, it continued to use them in clandestine operations both 
abroad and in the United States itself. Before the middle of the 
1950s the agency found itself entangled with dozens—and proba¬ 
bly hundreds—of former Nazis and SS men who had fought their 
way into the leadership of a variety of Eastern European emigre 
political associations inside this country. 

Instead of withdrawing its support for the extremist groups and 
for the men and women who led them, the CIA went to considerable 
lengths to portray these leaders as legitimate representatives of the 
countries they had fled. At about the same time that the agency 
initiated the immigration programs discussed in the last chapter, it 
dramatically expanded its publicity and propaganda efforts inside 
the United States itself. A major theme of this effort was to establish 
the credibility and legitimacy of exiled Eastern European politi¬ 
cians—former Nazi collaborators and noncollaborators alike—in the 
eyes of the American public. Through the National Committee for a 
Free Europe (NCFE) and a new CIA-financed group, the Crusade 
for Freedom (CFF), the covert operations division of the agency 
became instrumental in introducing into the American political 
mainstream many of the right-wing extremist emigre politicians’ 
plans to “liberate” Eastern Europe and to “roll back communism.” 1 


217 



218 BLOWBACK 


The agency’s entry into the American political scene was part of 
a broad escalation of the U.S. conflict with the Soviets that coin¬ 
cided with the outbreak of the Korean War. Coming on the heels 
of the Communist victory in China, the Soviet atomic bomb tests, 
and the Alger Hiss spy scandal in Washington, the North Korean 
attack on the U.S.-backed government in the South seemed to 
many in the West to prove all of the most alarming predictions 
about Communist—specifically Soviet—ambitions for world con¬ 
quest. “Containment,” they argued, had only fueled Russia’s de¬ 
signs for power in somewhat the same way that “appeasement” at 
Munich had encouraged Hitler. There was little that the Truman 
administration could say in reply; it had spent much of the previous 
four years aggressively promoting the conception that communism 
was a monolithic criminal conspiracy at work everywhere in the 
world and that America’s job was to “contain” and preferably to 
stop it altogether. 

Truman’s failure to achieve that goal became proof in the minds 
of many that the tactics of containment had not been sufficiently 
aggressive. It would be decades later—after the Sino-Soviet split, 
the U.S. debacles in Cuba and Vietnam, and the rise of third world 
nationalism as a major political force—before the fallacies of con¬ 
tainment’s basic premises, not just its tactics, would begin to find a 
hearing in American political discourse. At the time, however, it 
seemed to many that the only possible response to the crisis precipi¬ 
tated by Korea and the Soviet atomic tests was a major escalation 
of U.S. weapons programs, coupled with intensified clandestine 
campaigns to undermine Soviet rule everywhere it had been estab¬ 
lished. 

The price tag for the U.S. arms buildup, according to Paul Nitze, 
who drafted most of the main policy statements on the issue, was 
some $50 billion—alm ost three times t he then existing U.S. mi litary 
budjjetVThe real question for U.S. policymakers of the day, write 
Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas in their study of American for¬ 
eign policy formulation The Wise Men > “was whether Congress and 
the Administration would pay for it. The pu blic had to be pe r¬ 
suad ed. T he way J:ojdo that, Nitze knew fromexperience, wasTcT 
. scarg jJbemj^to tell them that the Soviets were intent on world 
domination, that they were poised to attack, and that the U.S. had 
to meet them everywhere.” 2 

It was in this context that the CIA launched a major propaganda 
effort in the United States. Despite a legal prohibition against do- 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


219 


mestic activities by the agency, it initiated a multimillion-dollar 
publicity project in this country called the Cr usade for Freedom. 
This new group served as a fund-raising arm for Radio Free Europe, 
the various Free Europe exile committees, and eventually Radio 
Liberation from Bolshevism, all of which worked primarily over¬ 
seas, where the agency had stronger statutory authority to operate. 
These overseas propaganda programs wereposin ^ as privat e corpo- 
rations made up solely of individual citizens who wanted to do 
something about the problem of communism in Europe, it will be 
recalled, and the CFF’s fund-raising efforts in the United States 
provided a convenient explanation for where all the money that 
RFE was spending was coming from, the CIA’s longtime legislative 
counsel Walter Pforzheimer has said . 3 Its work permitted the 
broadcasting operations to claim that they were fi nanced by mil- 
lionspp^ fromtfbm^ 

government. " " ~~~~~~ v 

^RTr^atityTone of the most important reasons for the CFF was to 
bring to America the analysis of foreign affairs that had been devel¬ 
oped by the National Committee for a Free Europe—and by the 
CIA. The CFF became a “gigantic, nationwide drive,” as former 
RFE/RL director Sig Mickelson has put it, “to obtain support for 
the activities of the Free Europe Committee .” 4 

The basic message of that analysis was a more aggressive, hard¬ 
hitting version of the containment doctrine that would soon come 
to be known as “Liberation.” Liberation, in a nutshell, began at 
about the point that containment left off, politically speaking. It 
held, as many containment advocates had argued earlier, that the 
socialist governments of Eastern Europe were unremittingly des¬ 
potic regimes, installed by the Red Army and ruled exclusively by 
Stalin-style terror. Liberation proponents discarded the earlier cir¬ 
cumspection about public calls for the overthrow of those states, 
however, and openly agitated for the “rollback of communism” in 
Eastern Europe through U.S. instigation of, and support for, coun¬ 
terrevolutionary movements in those countries. “Some day, sooner 
or later, the Iron Curtain is bound to disintegrate,” NCFE Board 
Chairman Joseph Grew exclaimed at the launching of the Crusade 
for Freedom. “So let’s prepare for that day in advance .” 5 The name 
eventually chosen for the radio broadcasting into the Soviet 
Union—Radio Liberation from Bolshevism—neatly summed up the 
political point the group was trying to make every time it identified 
itself on the air. 



220 BLOWBACK 


Although it was little known in the United States at the time, 
the genesis of the liberation philosophy can be clearly traced to 
emigre propagandists who had worked for the Nazis on the East¬ 
ern Front during World War II. After the war the various con¬ 
servative and liberal anti-Communist organizations in the United 
States that adopted liberation as a rallying cry added new and 
specifically American elements to the program that altered the 
earlier German strategy in basic ways. Liberation, in its American 
version, included an insistence that the anti-Communist revolu¬ 
tion be democratic rather than Fascist in character, and it aban¬ 
doned the racial theories and anti-Semitism of the earlier Nazi 
propaganda. Liberation, in the United States’ hands, was billed as 
the fulfillment of America’s own revolutionary heritage of resist¬ 
ance to tyranny. 

It is useful to look at the gradual evolution of how these changes 
took place. The political rhetoric of the extremist exile groups that 
had once worked for the Nazis also evolved in a complex interac¬ 
tion with the gradual introduction of li berationist th inking into 
America. By the late 1940s exiled extremist leaders had learned the 
rhetoric of this new, more “American” form of liberation. Their 
adoption of lip service to democra cy began to provide former Fas¬ 
cists with a platform to promote their agenda to millions of Ameri¬ 
cans, and it created a shelter, in effect, that protected them from 
the exposure of their Nazi pasts. They were n o long er seen as the 
trig germen of Nazi geno cide in the public mind but, rather, as 
fervent anti-Communist patriots. The governmentlTmtelligence 
agencies^ playeda substantial "role in this shift. 

The changes in the rhetoric of the extreme Russian nationalist 
organization Natsional’no-Trudovoi Soyuz (NTS), which is still ac- 
tive in today’s Russian emigration, are a case in point. This once 
openly Fascist group was foundecTin the early 1930s by a congress 
of younger Russian exiles who had fled their homeland in the wake 
of the 1917 revolution. During the first decade of its existence the 
NTS proclaimed the Nazis as models. NTS members were contemp¬ 
tuous of any sort of democratic norms and of t he United States, 
, which they viewed as degenerate. Their party program called for 
an anti-CommumsTrevoIudon in the USSR, assassination of Soviet 
Readers, disfranchisement of Jews, and confiscation of Jewish prop¬ 
erty. When war broke out, the NTS unhesitatingly rallied to the 
cause of Nazi Germany. 6 

NTS strategy during the conflict centered on an attempt to con- 


The Politics of “Liberation ” 


221 


vince the Germans to sponsor its members as the new rulers of a 
puppet state inside the Nazi-occupied zone of the USSR. They 
gradually became a central part of the Germans’ Vlasov Army polit¬ 
ical warfare project, serving as political officers and informers 
among the Eastern European troops who had defected to the Nazis. 
As a declassified U.S. State Department study on the group puts it, 
the NTS “served in the good graces of the Germans . . . [and] it 
placed its men into the Kriegsgefangenkommissionen [part of the 
Nazi prisoner of war camp administration frequently used for inter¬ 
rogation and recruitment of defectors]; into the special training 
camps [for] politically reliable prisoners ... and, above all, [into] the 
propagandists’ schools at Wustrau and Dabendorf; as well as into 
Goebbels’ Anti-Komintern a Nazi-sponsored alliance of Fascist 
parties from around the world. “Graduates of the [NTS] training 
program,” the study continues, “were assigned to positions in Ger¬ 
man-occupied Russia, such as chiefs of police, deputy mayors [and] 
propagandists with army units.” 

Many of the NTS leaders of the 1950s, particularly those who 
served as police and city administrators in the Nazi occupation 
zone, are major wa r criminals who personally helped organize the 
identification, roundupT^nH" execution of millions of Jewish and 
Slavic civilians. Insofar as NTS men won control of local administra¬ 
tions in the Nazi-occupied regions of the USSR, the organization 
became an integral part of the Nazis’ propaganda, espionage, and 
extermination apparatus in the East. 7 

The main theme of NTS propaganda throughout the conflict was 
a campaign to “liberate” the USSR from Stalin, communism, and 
the Jews through a mutiny by the Red Army. This became the 
centerpiece of Vlasov Army recruiting efforts at least as early as 
1942 and was elaborated in considerable detail with tactics for 
counterinsurgency operations in the Nazi occupation zone, behind- 
the-lines infiltration of NTS agents on espionage and sabotage mis¬ 
sions, grqp aganda themes tailore d tojyjp eal to Russi an sensibilities 
and similar specifics. When the Germans were finally driven out of 
Russia, selected NTS agents were left on “stay-behind” missions in 
an attempt to organize subversion in Soviet rear areas once the Red 
Army front had passed. The NTS also served as the dominant force 
(after the Nazis themselves) in the Russkaja Osvoboditel ’naia Ar- 
miia (Russian Army of Liberation, or Vlasov Army) and the Komitet 
Ozvobozhdeniia Narodov Rossii (German-sponsored Committee 
for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia), the Nazis’ primary front 



222 BLOWBACK 


group for eastern front political warfare operations in the desperate 
closing months of the war. 8 

It was through the NTS, and through the rival national liberation 
programs sponsored among Soviet minority groups by the Nazis’ 
Rosenberg ministry, that the strategy and tactics of the “liberation” 
of the USSR were first hammered out. These were the laboratories, 
so to speak, used by Hans Heinrich Herwarth, Gustav Hilger, and 
the other German political warfare officers discussed earlier to de¬ 
velop the propaganda themes and behind-the-lines subversion tac¬ 
tics believed most suitable for reaching people inside the USSR. 

Constantine Boldyreff was a founder of NTS and a senior leader 
of the group throughout the war. His wartime career is shrouded 
in secrecy today; but it is clear that the CIC believed that in late 
1944 he helped administer gangs of Russian laborers for the SS. 9 He 
is a case in point of the manner in which the intervention of U.S. 
intelligence agencies shepherded the migration of liberation propa¬ 
ganda out of the fallen wartime ministries of Berlin and into the 
living rooms of America. 

According to U.S. Army intelligence records obtained under the 
Freedom of Information Act, the mainstream U.S. anti-Communist 
organization Common Cause—no relation to the present-day lib¬ 
eral organization of the same name—sponsored the NTS spokes¬ 
man’s travel to the United States in 1948, then gave him a media 
campaign that enabled him to reach into millions of American 
homes during the late 1940s and early 1950s. 10 Common Cause was 
a prototype of, and a sister organization to, the CIA-sponsored 
National Committee for a Free Europe. Its directors included many 
of the men—Adolf Berle, Arthur Bliss Lane, and Eugene Lyons, 
among others—who simultaneously led CIA-financed groups such 
as the NCFE and, later, the American Committee for Liberation 
from Bolshevism. 11 

BoldyrefFs speaking and writing tour in this country became one 
of the first rallying cries in the United States for a liberationist 
political agenda. The campaign aimed at winning financial and 
popular support for the NTS as a weapon in clandestine warfare 
against the USSR. The NTS, claimed Common Cause chairman 
Christopher Emmet, controlled a gigantic underground apparatus 
that had penetrated every major Soviet city. The USSR was on the 
edge of an anti-Communist revolution, Boldyreff announced, and 
the NTS could bring Stalin to his knees. 12 

In reality, most of the NTS’s supposed “underground network” 



223 


The Politics of “Liberation” 

inside the USSR did not exist. True, the Nazis’ SS RSHA Amt VI had 
helped the NTS create such clandestine cells during the German 
retreat from the USSR, although the Nazis’ connection to this pro¬ 
gram, needless to say, was not publicized in the United States dur¬ 
ing BoldyrefFs tour. Subsequent events were to show, however, 
that most of those underground cells had already been mopped up 
by the NKVD by the time the emigre leader arrived in America. 

But that did not deter the publicity campaign. Common Cause 
arranged well-attended press conferences for the NTS spokesman 
in New York, Boston, Washington, and Baltimore. A dozen newspa¬ 
pers published prominent interviews or articles about supposed 
NTS clandestine activities inside the Soviet Union. This revolution¬ 
ary work was said to include anti-Communist radio broadcasting, 
use of rockets to distribute airborne leaflets over Red Army ground 
troops, and a variety of other dramatic psychological warfare tech¬ 
niques. In fact, however, most of these claimed actions either never 
took place at all or were vastly exaggerated by NTS propagandists. 
Nevertheless, every article, with the exception of a Newsweek 
piece penned by Ralph de Toledano (who favored a different fac¬ 
tion of Soviet emigresJT^offered virtually uncritical praise for the 
NTS and acceptance of BoldyrefFs claims. BoldyrefF pledged that 
the NTS would soon mobilize enough dissident Russians to over¬ 
throw the Stalin dictatorship, thereby supposedly saving the world 
from war. The price tag for NTS help in getting rid of communism, 
he said, was $100 million. 13 

It is impossible to determine today what Common Cause knew, 
if anything, of the NTS’s wartime record at the time it sponsored 
his speaking tour. It is clear, however, from BoldyrefFs own U.S. 
Army intelligence file that the CIC was well aware that the NTS 
was a totalitarian and pro-Fascist organization. Instead of making 
this fact clear, however, U.S. intelligence promoted BoldyrefFs 
propaganda work in this country. “A Common Cause spokesman 
said that BoldyrefF is ‘well known to American intelligence,’ ” the 
Boston Herald reported in its coverage of one of the NTS man’s 
early news conferences. “‘[He] is vouched for by high American 
officials,’ and cooperated with the American military government 
in Germany.” 14 

Over the next four years BoldyrefF went on to ghostwritten fea¬ 
ture stories appearing under his by-line in Lggk^Jte ader's Digesf , 
and World Affair s. “Will Russia’s democratic revolution take^place 
in time to keepthe Communist plotters from using their atomic 



224 BLOWBACK 


bombs against humanity?” he asked readers of the American Fed¬ 
eration of Labor’s mass circulation Federationist . 15 “The answer to 
this all important question depends on how hard the free world 
fights to pierce the Iron Curtain and join forces with Russian anti- 
Communists.” 

It is clear that Boldyreff was soon enjoying the direct sponsorship 
of the CIA. British i ntelligen ce historian E. H. Cookridge reports 
that the U.S. agency put BdldyfSfl^^onTetamerT'oF assistance in 
recruiting Vlasov Army veterans for espionage missions inside the 
USSR—a claim that the nationalist leader does not deny. Moreover, 
several of Boldyreffs ghostwriters—including James Critchlow, 
who coauthored the article quoted above—have since become 
known as career executives of the CIA’s political warfare projects 
such as Radio Liberation, a fact that strongly suggests that the 
agency also had a hand in BoldyrefFs publicity tours in the United 
States.* 16 

*Boldyreff was by no means the only senior NTS leader who enjoyed the sponsorship of 
Western intelligence agencies in the wake of the war. As early as 1946 Boldyreff created an 
elaborate plan under U.S., British, and French sponsorship in which NTS-led bands of exiles 
established construction companies in Morocco. In reality, however, “these were military 
groups, companies of the Vlasov Army, most of them soldiers together with their officers,” 
Boldyreff remembered during an interview. We “kept them together in order to provide 
special fighting units in a war with the Soviets.” The point of the Boldyreff plan, he says, was 
to subsidize these Vlasovite colonies, while at the same time preserving their military poten¬ 
tial. Boldyreff specifically excluded refugee Jews from this program, although several other 
Eastern European groups—Latvians, Lithuanians, etc.—were included. Boldyreff blamed 
this bit of postwar anti-Semitism on the Moroccan authorities. 

A brief look at the men mentioned in the declassified State Department study on the NTS 
referred to in the text is useful as an illustration of how other NTS collaborators found their 
way into secret employment in the West. The State Department report indicates that Roman 
Redlicb and Vladimir Porensky, for example, led Nazi recruitment and training of Russian 
defectors at a special school at Wustrau, that Yevgeniy R. Romanov served in Berlin as a 
leading Vlasov propagandist, and that an NTS man known simply as Tenzerov served as chief 
of security for the Vlasov Army. Vladimir Porensky (sometimes spelled Poremsky), in partic¬ 
ular, enjoyed a reputation as a “200% Nazi,” the study asserts. 

Of just these men, a JIAND Corporation study identifies Redlich as an officer in the 
notorious Kaminsky SS legion, and Soviet publications have repeatedly charged him with 
personally committing atrocities during the Nazi occupation of their country. U.S. intelli¬ 
gence nevertheless hired Redlich after the war to train behind-the-lines agents at its school 
at Regensburg, the Department of State admits. Redlich is also known to have been active 
at Bad Homburg, where agent training was carried out under cover of a “journalism” 
program at the CIA-financed Institute for the Study of the USSR. By the late 1950s Redlich 
had become chief of teams of Russian emigres responsible for attempting to recruit Soviet 
tourists, businessmen, and sailors traveling abroad, an intelligence service that eventually 
became the bread and butter of the NTS’s contract with the CIA as the cold war wound 
down. 

Meanwhile, the Berlin propagandist Romanov became chairman of the NTS Executive 
Bureau and served for years as the broker for NTS agents interested in employment with 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


225 


According to BoldyrefFs CIC dossier, U.S. Army and U.S. Air 
Force intelligence arranged a job for him at the pres tigious Foreig n 
Seryieejnstitute^t^Georgetown Un iversity jn Was^b^tonTThefe, n ^ ui 
he taught psychological warfare techniques to pilots engaged in 
clandestine air missions into the USSR. As Boldyreff himself put it 
in an interview, the air force assignment involved training “about 
120’HJ.S. pilots responsible for cross-border flights into th e US SR. Pf&fj 
“This^vas the cold warsays. “Air force officers were""more“/^^ 
frequently captured, [because] their planes would be shot down, 
and they needed to know what to do, how to survive. That sort of 
thing was much more open then than it is today.” 17 

But that was only the beginning. Next came radio interviews, 
then lucrative sp^ldiig^jgngageinenioUDaughters of the Ameri¬ 
can Revolu tion and American L egion conventions. The powerful 
Henry HofT^u blis hiii^^oinp a^^smed a booITmacTe up largely of 
Boldyreffs commentaries exposing both real and imagined Stalinist 
assassination plots. Last but not least, Boldyreff made the circuit in 
Washington of congressional investigating committees, which 
sought out his advice on fighting communism, psychological war¬ 
fare, and spotting supposed Red agents inside U.S. government 
agencies. 18 

Whatever one may think of Boldyreff s politics, none of his per¬ 
sonal actions in this country are known to have been illegal. At the 
same time, however, the actions of the CIA and other intelligence 
agencies in promoting his entry into American politics were, on 
their face, an apparent violation of U.S. law and of the CIA’s char¬ 
ter. Legal questions aside, it is clear that Boldyreff was only one of 
a long train of more or less similar ex-Fascist leaders whose publicity 
work on behalf of “liberation” during the late 1940s and early 1950s 
was underwritten at least in part by the U.S. government. 


Western espionage groups. Romanov’s close friend Porensky, the “200% Nazi,” was impris¬ 
oned as a war criminal in 1945, then released in 1946,, with th e cooper ation, of f he British 
s ecret serv ice. Porensky then went on to run the NTS ’s Possev publishing house in Munich, 
where tens of millions of agitative leaflets used among Soviet emigres outside the USSR were 
printed at British and American expense. Porensky’s Possev eventually became a major 
funding conduit through which U.S. payments to the NTS were passed, and the CIA’s later 
financial backing permitted the NTS to print millions of newspapers, pamphlets, books, and 
other literature, a good part of which was used to influence public opinion in Western Europe 
and the United States. Porensky has also served as NTS chairman. 

Finally, Tenzerov, who had been chief of security for the Vlassov Army, was betrayed by 
other NTS leaders in the last days of the war and left the organization in a fury. Army CIC 
records indicate that SS veteran Emil Augsburg (of the Gehlen Organization and the Barbie 
network) later recruited him as an agent. 

'4 BooKS 


226 BLOWBACK 


Ironically, George Kennan and Charles Thayer—who once had 
helped sponsor the U.S. political warfare programs that had 
rehabilitated the NTS and similar groups—were among the first 
men targeted by the radical right once the liberation message 
started to catch on. What was needed, the far right argued, was a 
much more aggressive American policy overseas. The United States 
should underwrite the “revolutionary” activities of anti-Commu- 
nist emigres such as the NTS on a much larger scale, they said. The 
“rollback of communism” in the East should become the touch¬ 
stone of U.S. efforts on the Continent. America should make a 
public declaration of its intent to “liberate” Eastern Europe, exiles 
like Boldyreff and their supporters argued, in order to encourage 
discontent with Soviet rule. The CIA should then deliver clandes¬ 
tine U.S. arms and money to the rebels to back up that promise. 
Some even argued that the United States should send in American 
troops. 

Supporters of liberation had no patience for Kennan’s ten- to 
fifteen-year strategy for the containment and eventual collapse of 
the USSR, even if it actually worked. “The expression in those days 
was 'We’re sitting on our suitcases,’ ” says Vladimir Petrov, a lead¬ 
ing Russian scholar in the United States and a onetime Vlasov Army 
adviser. “They were ready to go back at any time.” 19 Many believed 
that the sooner a U.S.-USSR war over Europe broke out, the better. 

George Kennan became a target within the Truman administra¬ 
tion for the radical right. Regardless of what the diplomat may have 
backed as far as clandestine U.S. policy was concerned, he favored 
U.S. government recognition of the reality of Soviet power in East¬ 
ern Europe, and many extremist emigres saw that as a sellout of 
their aspirations to return to power in their former homelands. As 
the political fortunes of the radical right in the United States rose, 
Kennan grew increasingly disillusioned with the results of the 
American foreign policy he had once been instrumental in for¬ 
mulating. He clashed sharply with Truman’s new secretary of state, 
Dean Acheson, over such key issues as the establishment of NATO, 
the permanent division of Germany, and large-scale U.S. interven¬ 
tion in Asia, all of which Kennan opposed. Soon Acheson’s disdain 
and Kennan’s stomach ulcers got the better of Kennan. He was 
hospitalized briefly, and when he returned to work, he discovered 
that he had been frozen out of Acheson’s inner circle of advisers, 
then stripped of his oversight authority in clandestine operations as 
well. 20 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


227 


The emigre anti-Communist movement continued to accelerate. 
Soon there emerged in the United States “one vocal and not unin- 
fluential element that not only wanted war with Russia, but had a 
very clear idea of the purposes for which, in its own view, such a 
war should be fought,” as Kennan noted later in a discussion of his 
views on the possibility of war with the USSR during the early 
1950s. “I have in mind the escapees and immigrants, mostly recent 
ones, from the non-Russian portions of the postwar Soviet Union, 
as well as from some of the Eastern European satellite states. 

“Their idea,” he writes, “to which they were passionately and 
sometimes ruthlessly attached, was simply that the United States 
should, for their benefit, fight a war against the Russian people to 
achieve the final breakup of the traditional Russian state and the 
establishment of themselves as the regimes of the various ‘liber¬ 
ated’ territories.” Kennan is referring here to the spokesmen of the 
so-called “Captive Nations” movement, particularly Ukrainian and 
Baltic nationalists. 

“These recent refugees were by no means without political influ¬ 
ence in Washington,” Kennan adds. “ Connected as they were with 
tfe e compact voting blocs situated in tiieTbig citi es, they were able 
to bring~Hirect influence to” bear on Individual Congressional 
figures. Thev^an geale d successfully at times to^religio us feelings, 
and even more importantly [sic] to the prevailing anti-Communist 
hys teria/ ’ Among the countries the Captive Nations movement 
represented were several that the diplomat admits had been “in¬ 
vented in the Nazi propaganda ministry during the recent war.” 21 

Agitation by these emigres became a part of dozens of CIA- 
sponsored exile operations in the United States during the early 
1950s. Almost all these affairs were sponsored by the CIA covert 
operations directorate’s International Organizations Division, 
which was then administering the NCFE, the CFF, and similar 
overlapping projects. This division organized and bankrolled the 
CFF with an initial grant of $180,000, according to former RFE/RL 
chief Mickelson. The agency, working through the NCFE, then 
went on to pour at least $5 million into CFF propaganda work 
inside the United States over the next five years. 22 

That $5 million figure is only a pale reflection of the true scope 
of the CFF’s effort, however. The campaign arranged with the 
minpmELA dvertisin g Council of America for thousands of hoursbf 
fr ee radio an^ eleylsK^^ countless free magazine 

and newspaper promotions. The crusade paid only forThe~aclual 



228 BLOWBACK 


production of the proliberation political advertising, which was 
then brogxicasLLpr publi shed without charge by media outlets enjoy^ 
ing substantial tSx deductions fo r^ airing these "pub lic service”j aru. 
nouncemen ts. This unique program “made it possible for the 
American people to read, hear and see The Crusade Story in all 
media of communications,” the National Committee for a Free 
Europe boasted in an annual report, including “newspapers, maga¬ 
zines, outdoor advertising, radio, television and newsreels.” 23 

But the CIA’s $5 million direct contribution to anti-Communist 
education through the CFF can serve, at least, as a yardstick for 
comparing the scope of the crusade promotion to other political 
propaganda efforts undertaken in this country at about the same 
time. That $5 million contribution exceeds, for example, the com¬ 
bined total of all the money spent on the Truman/Dewey presiden¬ 
tial election campaign of 1948. It establishes the CIA (through the 
CFF) as the largest single political advertiser on the American 
scene during the early 1950s, 24 rivaled only by such commercial 
giants as General Motors and Procter & Gamble in its domination 
of the airwaves. 

The campaign’s program began by naming a board of directors 
headed by General Lucius Clay, the hero of the Berlin airlift, who 
was falsely given credit for originating the Crusade for Freedom 
concept in order to enhance the program’s patriotic appeal. Next 
came the casting of a ten-ton bronze “Freedom Bell” (to “let Free¬ 
dom ring”), and a ticker-tape “Freedom” parade up Broadway in 
New York City, culminating in a huge rally on the steps of City Hall. 
The Freedom Bell became the centerpiece of a national promotion 
tour led by a phalanx of political notables, including many anti- 
Communist exile leaders. They loaded the bell onto a special “Free¬ 
dom Train” and shuttled it to propaganda events from coast to 
coast. There were stops at Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, 
Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and at least 
thirteen other major cities. Each event came complete with a con¬ 
tinuous drumbeat of publicity in radio, newspapers, magazines, 
churches, and social clubs of every description. Posters, handbills, 
billboards, commercials, and even fund-raising telethons filled out 
f the picture. (America’s first simultaneous coast-to-coast television 
broadcast, in fact, was a Crusade for Freedom telethon.) 25 

The CFF consistently stressed the leading role of anti-Commu¬ 
nist exiles in the liberation campaign. It was “essential to maintain 
as many [emigre] leaders as we can,” said NCFE President Dewitt 



229 


The Politics of “Liberation 

Poole, “[to prepare for] the day of their country’s liberation.” 26 
Spokesmen for organizations founded and controlled in large part 
by such Nazi collaborators as the Free Albania Committee and the 
Committee for a Free Latvia, discussed above, appeared at many 
of these events side by side with leaders of more respectable as¬ 
sociations, such as the Hungarian National Council, Bulgarian Na¬ 
tional Committee, and the various other groups gathered under 
NCFE’s wing. They testified to their determination to free their 
homelands from Communist domination. 

Similarly, the NCFE used its economic muscle to rent meeting 
halls and provide the public relations support that puffed up scores 
of otherwise minor emigre events into major “news” stories that 
enjoyed extensive play in the American media. Former Nazis did 
not control such programs, but they were sometimes able to make 
use of the prevailing anti-Communist hysteria to promote policies 
that they favored. The NCFE gave the annual Baltic Freedom Day 
Committee free use of Carnegie Hall once a year for at least three 
years, according to the organization’s annual reports, then used its 
influence to line up noted speakers, including a half dozen U.S. 
senators, the president of the NCFE itself, and a leading board 
member of the U.S. Displaced Persons Commission to grace the 
event. Most important to the favored Baltic politicians was a flood 
of endorsements arranged by the NCFE that included a proclama¬ 
tion by the governor of New York and public messages of solidarity 
from the then president of the United States, Harry Truman, and 
the man who was soon to be Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John 
Foster Dulles. These were obviously not “Nazi” political gather¬ 
ings. The major theme was support for democracy and for national 
independence of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia 
from the USSR. Even so, the Vanagis among the Latvians and other 
extreme-right-wing forces within the Baltic immigrant community 
succeeded in placing speakers at the rostrum at Carnegie Hall to 
promote the myth that the Baltic Waffen SS legions were simply 
anti-Communist patriots and to press for changes in U.S. immigra¬ 
tion regulations that would permit easy entry of such persons into 
this country under refugee relief programs. 27 

The crusade was only one part of a much broader CIA-sponsored 
effort to shape U.S. (and world) public opinion. Related programs 
included book publishing, scholarly studies of the USSR by carefully 
selected researchers, and bankrolling hundreds of rallies, com¬ 
memorations, and other media events. The principal political point 



230 BLOWBACK 


of this program was to provide extensive publicity for all available 
evidence that the USSR was a dangerous imperial power. The 
agency went on to emphasize news of the “liberation” movements 
of the exiles as an important morale booster and an illustration of 
the resistance to Soviet expansion. 

The CIA financed a literary campaign explicitly designed to pro¬ 
mote former Nazi collaborators as appropriate leaders of liberation 
movements among their respective nationalities. The German au¬ 
thor Heinz Bongartz (pen name Jurgen Thorwald) recounts how he 
was approached in 1950 by a CIA officer named Pleasants with a 
proposal that he write a promotional account of the Vlasov Army 
for distribution in both the United States and Europe. Pleasants had 
read an earlier Bongartz tract that was strongly sympathetic to 
Vlasov and “he thought I would be the ‘right fellow’ ” to write 
further material on the subject, Bongartz remembers. 

The German author accepted Pleasants’s offer. The CIA—with 
the cooperation of Heinz Danko Herre, a senior officer in the 
Gehlen Organization—provided him with stenographers, transla¬ 
tors, travel expenses, a substantial grant, access to secret U.S. rec¬ 
ords, and assistance in locating SS and Vlasov Army veterans scat¬ 
tered all over Europe. Bongartz’s glowing report of Vlasov was 
published in German and English two years later, and it remains an 
often-cited work in the field. 28 The book presents a thoroughly 
whitewashed picture of the Vlasov movement, but Bongartz de¬ 
serves credit, at least, for openly discussing the sponsors of his book, 
more than can be said for a number of other scholars of the period. 

This broad-based, multifaceted effort legitimized for many 
Americans what the extreme-right-wing emigre movement had 
been saying since the end of World War II. The United States could 
easily liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union and even 
dismember the USSR, the theory went, by bankrolling stepped-up 
subversion programs in the East. 

“It became an article of faith that the USSR was going to fall apart 
at any time,” notes scholar Vladimir Petrov. “The idea was that 
communism was a small conspiracy of men sending out the revolu¬ 
tion, that it was hated by the people, [and so] naturally they wanted 
to overthrow it right away. Communists killed people to maintain 
their power, so the first chance [the people] had there would be a 
rebellion.” 29 

John Foster Dulles articulated this myth neatly in congressional 
testimony that went entirely unchallenged at the time. “Some 



The Politics of “ Liberation” 


231 


dozen people in the Kremlin/’ he proclaimed, “are seeking to con¬ 
solidate their imperial rule over some 800,000,000 people, repre¬ 
senting what were nearly a score of independent nations.” 30 With 
those kinds of odds—800 million against 12—the overthrow of com¬ 
munism from within would seem like a fairly simple task. 

“That was the theory at the time,” Petrov says. “There was a lot 
of enthusiasm. Many people thought that communism could be 
very simply gotten rid of.” But in reality, Petrov reflects with a sigh, 
“this just wasn’t true.” 

The liberation message struck an extraordinarily responsive 
chord in the United States, one which reverberated far beyond the 
relatively narrow community of Eastern European exiles. Its potent 
blend of anti-Communist paranoia, American patriotism, and the 
self-perceived generosity of doing something practical to aid peo¬ 
ple seen as suffering from persecution abroad appealed to millions 
of Americans. 

It is probably impossible today to determine the impact that the 
Cl As emigre programs and domesti c-pr opaganda efforts ha.d on th e 
eteetiom or other mainstream political events of the period 

with any degree of scientific certainty. The information detailing 
the full extent of the agencyjs efforts to shape doi^stio-publi^ 
opinion remains buried in classified^fi T^lrirhaTnot bee n purged 
fforYr~the^rej ^r carefully controlled surveys of 

puBlic^opmion that might enable scholars to disentangle the specific 
effects of the CIA’s immigration and propaganda programs from 
the broader political impact of the media’s day-to-day coverage of 
international events were not taken at the time, and it would be 
pointless to try to take them today, thirty-five years later. It is not 
surprising that sociologists and political scientists of the period 
failed to make use of surveys and other statistical tools to examine 
the impact of CIA clandestine action campaigns in the United 
States; after all, the fact that a systematic propaganda effort even 
existed was a state secret at the time. 

But the anecdotal evidence concerning the significance of these 
programs is strong. The role of former Nazi collaborators and U.S. 
intelligence agencies in promoting the penetration of liberationist 
political thinking into the American body politic may be traced 
through several clear steps. First, the rhetoric and the detailed 
strategies for the “liberation” of the USSR and Eastern Europe 
were originally generated before World War II by pro-Fascist 



232 BLOWBACK 


emigre organizations enjoying direct sponsorship from Nazi Ger¬ 
many’s intelligence agencies, which were intent on using these 
groups as pawns in their plans to exterminate European Jewry and 
to achieve a military victory in the East. The Nazis significantly 
developed both the liberation strategies and their exile constituen¬ 
cies during the war, despite the Germans’ own internal factional 
fighting over how to make best use of collaborators. 31 Secondly, 
after the war U.S. intelligence agencies brought leaders of a num¬ 
ber of these pro-Fascist groups—the Ukrainian OUN, the Russian 
nationalist NTS, the Albanian Balli Kombetar, certain of the Baltic 
Nazi collaborators, etc.—into the United States through programs 
the specific purpose of which was, in part, the generation of effec¬ 
tive anti-Communist propaganda. 32 Next, these same exile leaders 
aggressively promoted essentially the same liberation propaganda 
in the United States that they had advocated under Nazi sponsor¬ 
ship, though now with a new appeal to American values, such as 
democracy and freedom, rather than the earlier open advocacy of 
racial politics and fascism. The CIA gave these domestic publicity 
campaigns multimillion-dollar clandestine backing during the 
1950s by providing operating cash, salaries, and logistic and pub¬ 
lishing support and—not least—by facilitating endorsements from 
respected mainstream politicians. 

Neither the Eastern European exile community in America nor, 
still less, the minority of former Nazi collaborators among them had 
the political muscle to force adoption of a liberation agenda on the 
American public by themselves. But they could, and did, often 
serve as catalysts that helped trigger the much bigger political 
“chemical reaction,” so to speak, that was then under way, the 
primary ingredients of which were East-West disputes over eco¬ 
nomic and military spheres of influence. The first and in some ways 
most credible spokesmen in the United States for liberationist 
thinking were exiled activists who were, like NTS executive Con¬ 
stantine Boldyreff discussed above, “well known to American intel¬ 
ligence [and] vouched for by high American officials.” 33 Their mes¬ 
sage and slogans caught on with millions of Americans during the 
first half of the 1950s, especially among conservatives and others 
alarmed by the spread of communism abroad. In 1952 the public 
support in the United States for threats to liberate Eastern Europe 
and the USSR from their Communist governments was sufficiently 
broad that the R gpnhlig^ jxarty,adopted an explicit call for libera¬ 
tion as the main foreign policy plank in its party platform and as a 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


233 


central theme in its presidential and congressional election cam¬ 
paigns. 

The Republicans’ campaign platform demanded “the end of the 
negative, futile and immoral policy of ‘Containment/ ” as the New 
York Times reported, “which abandons countless human beings to 
a despotism and godless terrorism.” The GOP pledged to “revive 
the contagious, liberating influences that are inherent in freedom” 
and to mark the “beginning of the end” for Communist party rule 
in Eastern Europe and the USSR. 34 America, the Republicans’ pri¬ 
mary foreign policy spokesman, John Foster Dulles, wrote in Life 
magazine, “wants and expects liberation to occur.” This anti-Com- 
munist revolution, he claimed disingenuously, would come about 
“peacefully.” 35 The Republicans used this liberation rhetoric as a 
means of distinguishing their promises of a new, tougher foreign 
policy from the program of the Democrats. What exactly Eisen¬ 
hower intended to do to promote the liberation of Eastern Europe 
once the election campaign was over, however, was usually left 
vague. 

Arthur Bliss Lane, who had been U.S. ambassador to Poland dur¬ 
ing the Truman years, became the point man in the Republican 
party’s effort to swing the enthusiasm created by the Crusade for 
Freedom into the GOP’s column during the 1952 election. Lane’s 
inspiration was to attract the large Slavic and Eastern European, 
vgtingj glocs in the t^nte9^States7w^ ^IEi3 traHItionallv voted for 
Democratic candidat es, to the Republican party through dema¬ 
gogic promises to “liberate” their former homelands with Ameri¬ 
can assistance. 36 

Along with his party assignment, Lane, as noted earlier, simul¬ 
taneously served on the boards of both the NCFE and the CFF, and 
he was an indefatigable speaker and promoter on behalf of each of 
his causes. Soon Republican election tactics in ethnic communities 
paralleled the CIA’s Crusade for Freedom campaign so closely that 
considerable political sophistication was required to distinguish one 
from the other. The party sponsored Committees of Crusades to 
Lift the Iron Curtain, Liberation Centers, Liberation Week festivi¬ 
ties, and Liberation Rallies, designed to draw ethnic vote^ nnLo-th^ 
Republican camp. These campaigns imitated and sometimes over¬ 
lapped^^ Freedom Weeks, Baltic Freedom Days, and Free¬ 

dom Rallies. Speakers and local activists of the two crusades were 
frequently the same people. 37 

Several of Lane’s top ethnic advisers personified the gradual evo- 



234 BLOWBACK 


lution from World War II collaboration into cold war liberation 
advocacy that has been seen in the CIA’s propaganda programs. 
Lane’s specialist in Republican party appeals to Americans of Rus¬ 
sian and Ukrainian ethnic descent, for example, was the scholar and 
publicist Vladimir Petrov. Petrov, a survivor of Stalin’s prison 
camps in the 1930s, had defected to the Germans early in the war 
and spent much of the conflict assigned to a Nazi-sponsored propa¬ 
ganda group in Vienna, according to his own account, and as a 
publicist promoting Vlasov’s “Russian Army of Liberation.” Petrov 
also served as a quisling city administrator in Krasnodar, in the 
USSR, during the Nazi occupation. He insisted in a recent interview 
that he had no knowledge when he was serving in Krasnodar of the 
Nazis’ gas truck extermination program, which was introduced in 
Krasnodar during Petrov’s tenure as transportation and finance 
chief. The Germans killed at least 7,000 people in this manner 
during Petrov’s brief time in office, then used collaborationist mili¬ 
tia troops to shoot others in tank ditches on the outskirts of town,* 
During the 1952 election campaign Petrov served both as an ad¬ 
viser to Lane and as a leading Russian-language journalist in the 
ethnic press in this country. 38 

The gradual merging of the Republicans’ election campaign and 
the Crusade for Freedom reached its logical culmination on the eve 
of the 1952 election. The party’s ethnic division under Lane ap¬ 
proved and allocated money for a psychological warfare tactic that 
had earlier been used by the CIA in Italy and Eastern Europe. 
Millions of yellow leaflets were slated to be dropped from airplanes 
“over places such as Ha mtram gk^” the large immigrant community 
near Detroit, plugging Eisenhower and blaming Democrat Adlai 
Stevenson for the “betrayal” of the Slavic “Fatherland and rela¬ 
tives” to the Communists. The yellow paper was to dramatize the 


*In his published memoirs Petrov contradicts the statement that he was unaware of Nazi 
extermination efforts in Krasnodar. There he says that he did know Jews were being sys¬ 
tematically murdered in Krasnodar even before he became a city official. In Escape from the 
Future Petrov also writes that he appointed the city’s chief of police during the Nazi occupa¬ 
tion. Petrov claims that he helped warn Krasnodar’s Jews of their danger and even encour¬ 
aged them to escape. 

Whichever version is true, Petrov says today: “I did not make decisions on the basis of 
massacres. Where I had been [in prison camp] in Siberia,” he continues grimly, “there were 
also massacres, if not of the German style. There were many people done to death against 
their wishes and without honor. So there were massacres here, massacres on that side, all 
around. . . . Over here [in the United States] there is a distinction about who is killed,” he 
says, with a trace of irony. “If one is a choserype rson, then that means something. But if one 
is a Russian peasant, then that counts for nothing.” 





The Politics of “Liberation” 


235 


leaflet’s conclusion. “If you men and women of Polish and Czech 
descent can, after reading the above, vote for the Democratic can¬ 
didate,” the handbill proclaimed, “you are as yellow as this 
paper.” 39 Everything was ready to go “within 48 hours,” according 
to correspondence in Lane’s archives, but Eisenhower’s inner circle/ 
of election advisers canceled the plan at the last minute. / 

Eisenhower’s election campaign was successful in any event. 
Lane’s “ethnic” campaign produced mixed results: The Republi¬ 
cans did draw substantially more votes from ethnic districts than 
they had been able to do previously, according to contemporary 
reports, 40 although the Democratic party’s influence in these wards 
was by no means extinguished. In any case, the majority of Ameri¬ 
can voters backed Eisenhower, at least in part because of his prolib¬ 
eration, “let’s get tough with the Communists” foreign policy 
stance. In January 1953 the first Republican administration in 
twenty years entered Washington with a grand inaugural parade 
and a rhetorical commitment, at least, to a mission to liberate East¬ 
ern Europe from Communist rule. 

Former Nazis and collaborators combined with right-wing ele¬ 
ments within the U.S. intelligence community to bring another sort 
of pressure to bear on the U.S. political scene. The flood of govern¬ 
ment and private money flowing into anti-Communist political 
warfare programs during the early 1950s created a cottage indus¬ 
try, of sorts, for informers, professional ex-Communists of varying 
degrees of reputability, and “information bureaus” specializing in 
the blacklisting of Americans viewed as politically suspect. One of 
the least known but most important of these entrepreneurs was 
John Valentine (“Frenchy”) Grombach. He was, it will be recalled, 
the former military intelligence agent whose leaks to Congress had 
led to the purge of Colonel Alfred McCormack and McCormack’s 
team of skeptical intelligence experts back in 1946 and 1947. 

During the late 1940s Grombach had become a businessman who 
specialized in selling political and economic intelligence derived in 
large part from old boy networks of German SS officers, former 
Hungarian Axis quislings, and Russian nationalist NTS men to the 
State Department, the CIA, andc orporate customers in th e Un ited 
St ates and ^^VesterxuEu rope . Grombach’s espionage networfToper- 
ated through, and was pa rtially fina nce d by, the N. V. Philips Glo- 
eilampenfabrieken corporation of the Netherlands and its Ameri¬ 
can affiliate. Philips North America, according to records found in 



236 


BLOWBACK 


his CIC dossier. 41 This was th e same major electronics manufa c¬ 
turer that had provided a channel for his clandestine wartime oper¬ 
ations. One of Grombach’s most important assets, according to U.S. 
naval intelligence records obtained under the Freedom of Informa¬ 
tion Act, was SS General Karl Wolff, a major war criminal who had 
gone into the arms trade in Europe after the war. 42 A second pri¬ 
mary component of Grombach’s private intelligence apparat was a 
large group of Hungarians loyal to the former royal privy councillor 
Tibor Eckhardt, according to Ray Ylitalo, who handled liaison with 
Grombach’s undercover service for State Department intelli¬ 
gence. 43 

Grombach worked simultaneously under contract to the Depart¬ 
ment of State and the CIA. The ex-military intelligence man suc¬ 
ceeded in creating “one of the most unusual organizations in the 
history of the federal government,” according to CIA Inspector 
General Lyman Kirkpatrick. 44 “It was developed completely out¬ 
side of the normal governmental structure, [but it] used all of the 
normal cover and communications facilities normally operated by 
intelligence organizations, and yet never was under any control 
from Washington.” By the early 1950s the U.S. government was 
bankrolling Grombach’s underground activities at more than $1 
million annually, Kirkpatrick has said. 

As the cold war deepened, Grombach had wheeled and dealed 
and tried to slide himself into a position where he would have a shot 
at the top spot in the American intelligence complex. He wanted 
to be director of the CIA or, better yet, chief of an entirely new U.S. 
espionage machine built on the ruins of that agency. “Grombach,” 
says Ylitalo, 45 “never could figure out whether he was an employee 
[of the CIA] or a competitor. That was the problem in a nutshell.” 

Grombach promoted himself as the most pro-“liberation,” most 
anti-Communist of all of Washington’s competing spy chiefs. His 
organization stood ready, he said, to purge the State Department 
and the CIA of Communist dupes, homosexuals, and liberals of all 
stripes. High on the list of his targets were the men who had ar¬ 
ticulated and implemented Truman’s containment strategy: 
George Kennan, Charles Thayer, Charles Bohlen, and their allies at 
State and the CIA. In Grombach’s eyes, these officials were like his 
old nemesis Colonel McCormack: too soft on communism and the 


USSR; too favorable to liberal elements in the CIA; too closely tied 
to the elitist eastern establishment that had been running the State 


Depart ment for gene rations. 







237 


The Politics of “Liberation 

Grombach banked on his close connections with Senators Joseph 
^cCaithy, William Jenner* and other members oFtfxe extreme 
Republican right to propel hinTtonational power. HeTieTIeveJdhat 
the McCartHjute'right was on its way to the White House, and he 
intended to be there when it arrived. Grombach’s outfit effectively 
became the foreign espionage agency for the far right, often serv¬ 
ing as the overseas complement to McCarthy’s generally warm 
rela tions with T. Ed gar Hoover’s F BI aC Home . " 

Through a quirk of fate Frenchy Grombach found himself in a 
position where he could exercise enough influence in Washington 
to help derail the government careers of his rivals. U.S. government 
contracts bankrolling a network of former Nazis and collaborators 
gave him much of the ammunition he needed to do the job. Grom¬ 
bach used his networks primarily to gather dirt. This was the 
American agent’s specialty, his true passion: political dirt; sexual 
dirt; any kind of compromising information at all. “He got into a lot 
of garbage pails/’ as Kirkpatrick puts it, “and issued ‘dirty linen’ 
reports on Americans.” 46 Grombach collected scandal, cataloged it, 
and used it carefully, just as he had done during the earlier McCor¬ 
mack investigation. He leaked smears to his political allies in Con¬ 
gress and the press when it suited his purposes to do so. Grombach 
and congressional “internal security” investigators bartered these 
dossiers with one another almost as though they were boys trading 
baseball cards. 

One of Grombach’s most important weapons in his struggle for 
power was a series of blackmail type of dossiers that his men had 
compiled on his rivals inside the U.S. intelligence community. He 
had retailed much of this data piece by piece to the CIA over the 
years but by 1952 had decided to make use of his network of former 
SS men and collaborators on behalf of Senator Joseph McCarthy. 
Grombach’s primary targets included a number of current and 
former U.S. intelligence officials—Charles Thayer, Carmel Offie, 
William Bundy, Colonel Alfred McCormack, and a half dozen oth¬ 
ers—whom he regarded as vulnerable liberal targets. 

Grombach leaked these “dirty linen” files to Senator McCarthy, 
according to both Kirkpatrick and Ylitalo. Soon an anonymous let¬ 
ter went the rounds on Capitol Hill, charging Thayer with sexual 
promiscuity, homosexuality, and a series of vague security viola¬ 
tions during Thayer’s tenure as chief of the Voice of America, which 
was a frequent target of McCarthy’s attacks. 47 Other charges soon 
flowed out of McCarthy’s offices about William Bundy, then a mem- 


238 BLOWBACK 


ber of the CIA’s elite Office of National Estimates, and John Paton 
Davies, who had been Kennan’s right-hand man in Bloodstone. 

Lyman Kirkpatrick handled the matter for the CIA. “As I studied 
the names [on McCarthy’s list of suspects],” Kirkpatrick says, “and 
particularly the comments made about them, I became more and 
more convinced that I had read those comments before. . . . We 
went back and checked the files, and sure enough some of the 
phrases were identical to the so-called dirty linen reports that the 
subsidiary organization [Grombach] had fed to us about our own 
people, and some of the names were identical with those that [he 
had] regarded as sinister.” It was Grombach, Kirkpatrick then 
knew, who had fed this collection of rumors—some of them gath¬ 
ered at the CIA’s own expense—to McCarthy. 

Kirkpatrick—by then confined to a wheelchair with a nearly fatal 
case of polio he had picked up on an inspection tour in Southeast 
Asia—confronted the burly Grombach in a Washington hotel room 
a few days later. “I went alone with a copy of Senator McCarthy’s 
report, handed it to [Grombach] .. . and told him that he had given 
it to Senator McCarthy,” Kirkpatrick writes. “After a bit of bluster¬ 
ing and blowing, he admitted that he had done this and claimed 
that it was not only his right, but his responsibility.” Grombach 
“went on to say that he had proposed to Senator McCarthy that his 
entire organization work for the Senator in doing nothing but inves¬ 
tigating employees of the United States government.” 48 

McCarthy let it be known that he intended to call Thayer for 
hearings on his supposed fitness for office, perhaps at the same time 
that the nomination of Thayer’s brother-in-law, Charles Bohlen, as 
ambassador to the USSR was up for consideration. The hearings, 
like most McCarthy events, would probably receive live national 
TV coverage. Thayer resigned a few days later. 

A simple resignation was not enough for McCarthy, however. 
The State Department had permitted Thayer to maintain the 
fiction that he had voluntarily resigned “to pursue a writing career” 
and had even put out a press release to that effect. But McCarthy 
insisted on making Thayer’s public humiliation complete. Under 
intense questioning by the senator, a department spokesman ad¬ 
mitted that Thayer had been “separated on the basis of morals 
charges”—a 1950s euphemism for homosexuality. 49 Newspapers 
headlined the case from coast to coast. 

That was one down. Next on McCarthy’s list—and on Grom- 
bach’s—was John Paton Davies. Davies, a China policy specialist 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


239 


and close friend of George Kennan’s, had frequently served as the 
Policy Planning Staff s point man in Bloodstone cases. He had been 
instrumental in the immigrations of Nazi Foreign Office specialist 
Hilger and the SS Wannsee Institute defector Poppe, in the exploi¬ 
tation of former Nazi agents Ulus and Sunsh, and in much of the rest 
of the clandestine side of State Department affairs during the Tru¬ 
man administration. 50 Davies generally favored a hard-line attitude 
toward Moscow and even went so far as to advocate a “preventative 
war against the USSR,” as the New York Times described it, follow¬ 
ing the^de tonatj ^n5of the first Soviet atomic bomb in 1949. (In a 
more recent interview, however, Davies denied that he called for 
war with the Soviets, preferring instead to term his strategy a 
“showdown.”) 51 

Ironically, though, Davies had become the whipping boy of the 
right-wing China Lobby during the late 1940s because of his con¬ 
troversial opinions on American strategy in the Far East. He had 
once (in 1945) favored a de facto U.S. alliance with Mao Zedong in 
order to undermine Soviet influence in Asia. Davies’s advice on this 
matter was largely rejected, but after Mao’s victory in 1949, the far 
right in the United States scapegoated Davies and other State De¬ 
partment China hands as the supposed cause of Chiang Kai-shek’s 
defeat. 

The sacrifice of John Paton Davies at McCarthy’s hands is a vivid 
illustration of t he influence of th e radicaj^r ight on A mer ican politi¬ 
cal affairs. Davies, as it turns out, had suggested an intelligence 
project code-named Tawney Pippet to a CIA/OPC liaison officer 
named Lyle Munson. Tawney Pippet was to be a fairly straightfor¬ 
ward variation on the ongoing Nazi utilization projects, but it had 
a twist. This time Kennan’s PPS wanted OPC to fund secretly a 
think tank of left- wing and pro-Communist scholars, who could be 
tapped without their knowledge as sources of information on 
China. Some of them might also be available as deep-cover chan¬ 
nels for U.S. government communication with the Chinese Com¬ 
munists. 

OPC Agent Munson, however, was alarmed over the prospect of 
the U.S. government’s having any contact with left-wing scholars, 
even those being unwittingly used for ulterior purposes. He leaked 
word of Tawney Pippet to J. Edgar Hoover, and from there it found 
its way through unknown channels into the hands of Grombach and 
eventually McCarthy. 52 Munson billed the Tawney Pippet project 
as a plan to infiltrate Communists into the CIA. 



240 BLOWBACK 


It was Munson, not Davies, who had spilled CIA secrets and 
sabotaged Tawney Pippet. But it was Davies who was hounded and 
dragged before no fewer than eight separate State Department 
and congressional “loyalty” investigating committees on the basis 
of Munson’s allegations. The radical right in general, and McCarthy 
in particular, made the dismissal of Davies an acid test of the Eisen¬ 
hower administration’s determination to get rid of supposed sub¬ 
versives in the State Department. 

In the end, there was very little that the loyalty inquests could 
pin on Davies, Grombach had failed to turn up any real dirt on him 
beyond the Tawney Pippet affair and early China gaffes. Davies had 
had a reasonably distinguished career, and his loyalty to the United 
States was clearly strong. His real problem was that he had favored 
a rapprochement with China twenty-five years before it became 
politically acceptable to do so, and he refused to grovel about it. 

Davies hung on in government for almost twenty months after 
Thayer fell. Finally, however, John Foster Dulles dismissed the 
Foreign Service officer for his supposed lapses of judgment and his 
“personal demeanor,” as Dulles called it, 53 under hostile question¬ 
ing. 

Charles Bohlen—a close Kennan ally who, according to his own 
account, had been instrumental in the original recruitment of Ger¬ 
man political warfare expert Hans Heinrich Herwarth for U.S. in¬ 
telligence—was next. 54 Eisenhower had nominated Bohlen as U.S. 
ambassador to the USSR in February 1953, but the nomination had 
to be confirmed by the Senate before Bohlen could take his post. 
Ike liked and respected Chip Bohlen; they had been golf partners 
in France during the forties. Eisenhower had personally chosen 
Bohlen for the Moscow assignment, much to the discomfort of his 
secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. 

Arthur Bliss Lane, Joe McCarthy, and the rest of the liberationist 
stalwarts balked at the Bohlen nomination. Even Secretary of State 
Dulles was concerned about how Bohlen’s earlier leading role in 
containment and in the 1945 Yalta accords with the USSR might 
look to voters who had just elected the Republicans on a liberation 
ticket. 

Dulles gingerly testified on Bohlen’s behalf anyway, and it 
seemed for a while as though the nomination might go smoothly. 
But Dulles had underestimated the strength and virulence of the 
McCarthyite movement, which up to that time he and most of the 
rest of the Republican party had openly supported. Dulles’s top 



The Politics of “Liberation ” 


241 


internal affairs oflBcer at the State Department, it turned out, was 
a McCarthy man who believed that anyone who had been as deeply 
involved in the Yalta negotiations as Bohlen had been was a security 
problem pretty much by definition. The internal affairs chief op¬ 
posed the diplomat’s nomination, and McCarthy used that dissent 
as a pretext for claiming that Bohlen was a “security risk.” 

McCarthy marshaled Senators Everett DixJ^en, Homer Cape- 
hart, a nd the rest q £ the far righCcaucus, then unleashed an emo¬ 
tional floor debate in the Senate in an attempt to block approval of 
Bohlen’s nomination. The tide was against McCarthy; he was, after 
all, a Republican senator bucking a Republican president on what 
would ordinarily be a routine appointment. McCarthy’s speech 
during the showdown lasted more than an hour. He rehashed the 
party’s line on containment, lambasted Bohlen’s brother-in-law 
Charles Thayer, then accused Bohlen himself of “cowardice” and 
of being “so blind that he cannot recognize the enemy.” 55 

McCarthy presented his trump card at the climax of his argu¬ 
ment. It was an affidavit from Igor Bogolepov, who claimed that he 
knew that the Soviet secret police had regarded Bohlen as a “possi¬ 
ble source of information” and a “friendly diplomat” during a 
Bohlen tour of duty in Moscow in the 1930s. 56 

Bogolepov was an NTS man who free-lanced as an anti-Commu- 
nist expert in Washington. In the early 1950s he was on a number 
of payrolls, including Grombach’s, and the State Department’s 
Ylitalo says that it was Grombach who primed Bogolepov for his 
role in McCarthy’s attack on Bohlen. Bogolepov had once been a 
Soviet Foreign Ministry official, but he defected to the Nazis and 
spent most of World War II making anti-Semitic propaganda broad¬ 
casts for the Goebbels ministry. Bogolepov says that U.S. intelli¬ 
gence brought him to this country in the late 1940s—apparently 
illegally, considering his work for Goebbels—and that he had 
worked on and off for the CIA for several years. In time, however, 
Bogolepov grew discontented with the agency, mainly because it 
did not pay him as much as he thought he deserved. 57 

The cooler heads on Capitol Hill considered Bogolepov a crack¬ 
pot. The radical right did not, however, and readily used his state¬ 
ments as “proof’ that among other things, Communist fellow trav¬ 
elers were engaged in a campaign to rewrite U.S. Army training 
manuals and that Charles Bohlen was “possibly” an undercover 
Stalinist agent. 

Even Bogolepov’s affidavit failed to bail out McCarthy this time. 



242 BLOWBACK 


The senator was outvoted, and Bohlen’s nomination was approved. 
The New York Times carried the entire affair on its front page and 
prominently quoted the NTS man’s affidavit. 58 The Russian defec¬ 
tor’s stint in the Goebbels ministry, which had been made public 
in earlier congressional testimony, was not mentioned in the report. 

McCarthy succeeded in drawing some blood despite losing the 
vote on Bohlen. According to columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop, 
Republican Majority Leader Robert Taft visited Eisenhower 
shortly after the vote. Taft insisted that “no more Bohlens” be sent 
to the Senate as nominees. Eisenhower agreed, the Alsops reported, 
and Taft “hastened to spread the happy word on Capitol Hill that 
Senator McCarthy and his ilk would thereafter enjoy a virtual veto 
on all presidential appointments.” 59 The Alsops were overstating 
the case, perhaps, but it was clear enough that McCarthy had 
demonstrated his power as a spoiler in the Senate. Eisenhower’s 
diplomatic nominations were screened for their acceptability to the 
extreme right for much of the rest of his administration. 

Bohlen left for Moscow about a week after his confirmation. 
Shortly before he departed, however, John Foster Dulles implored 
Bohlen to stay in Washington for just a few more weeks so that the 
diplomat could travel to Russia together with his wife and family. 
Traveling alone, Dulles suggested, would only raise an issue of 
Bohlen’s possible “immoral behavior.” The diplomat was dumb¬ 
founded. He later confided to a friend, historian David Oshinsky 
recounts, 60 “that it took every ounce of his patience to keep from 
smashing Dulles in the face.” 

The role of Grombach’s former Nazis and collaborators in gather¬ 
ing political ammunition for Joseph McCarthy is, in many respects, 
only a short footnote to the history of high politics in Washington. 
Grombach rapidly lost influence in the State Department and the 
CIA in the wake of his showdown in the hotel room with Kirkpa¬ 
trick, and McCarthy, too, discredited himself in the end. Bogolepov 
returned to Europe, where he is reported to have committed sui¬ 
cide several years later. Bohlen went on to do a workmanlike job 
as U.S. ambassador to Moscow and eventually ended up as a central 
player in U.S.-Soviet relations over the next two decades. 

But incidents such as the purging of Thayer and Davies and the 
crisis over Bohlen’s nomination can sometimes point to larger his¬ 
torical patterns. The popular support for liberation that was so 
carefully nurtured during the early 1950s provided fertile ground 
for entrepreneurs like Grombach to put down roots. Regardless of 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


243 


its “American” and patriotic trappings, liberation’s paranoid an¬ 
ticommunism made it easier for some U.S. politicians to make com¬ 
mon cause with a former Goebbels propagandist such as Bogolepov 
or with public spokesmen for prewar anti-Semitic terrorist groups 
such as NTS leader Boldyreff. 

As was seen in the case of the Bogolepov affidavit, private intelli¬ 
gence apparats like John Grombach’s organization formed one of 
the important linkages between the careful politicians in Washing¬ 
ton and the former Nazis and collaborators who were occasionally 
thought to be useful to them. Such u nofficial clan destine^action 
groups have lon g played a sporadic but so metime s i mportant rol e 
itCAmenc^.pQUhcai nfer'witness G. Gordon Liddy’s Watergate 
burglary team or the more recent scandal surrounding Colonel 
Oliver North’s activities inside the National Security Council. The 
extralegal status of Grombach’s group permitted him to hire and 
exploit former Nazis and Axis officials for intelligence-gathering 
purposes, t hen se c retly to put the products oLhis. work to use in 
p artisan political ba ttles in theUmted States. Perhaps in some other 
decade John Grombach would have hired persons from other failed 
regimes as agents; the continuing intrigues among anti-Castro Cu¬ 
bans and the former South Vietnamese police suggest that a new 
generation of espionage entrepreneurs in the Grombach mold is 
still at work. But in the early 1950s it was former Nazis and col¬ 
laborators who were in the most abundant supply for such affairs. 
It is they who formed much of the heart of Grombach’s overseas 
network and they who gave him much of the ammunition he 
needed to participate in McCarthy’s purges. 

At the same time that McCarthy and his allies were battling in 
the Senate for the dismissals of Thayer, Davies, and Bohlen, the 
Republicans’ election year pledge to liberate Eastern Europe also 
fueled a rapid expansion of clandestine destabilization operations. 
A special series of foreign policy conferences code-named Solarium 
reaffirmed that the new administration would engage in “selected 
aggressive actions of limited scope, involving moderately increased 
risks of general war,” as Eisenhower’s top national security adviser, 
Robert Cutler, put it, in order “to eliminate Soviet-dominated areas 
within the free world and to reduce Soviet power in the Satellite 
periphery.” U.S. policy aimed at “a maximum contribution to the 
increase in internal stresses and conflicts within the Soviet sys¬ 
tem.” 61 



244 BLOWBACK 


But despite the Republicans’ public attacks on Truman’s contain¬ 
ment policy, Eisenhower’s election had been a victory for the Re¬ 
publican establishment, not for the radical right. The Republicans 
did not have a substantially new strategy for dealing with the Sovi¬ 
ets, beyond a tendency to use harsher rhetoric than the Democrats. 
George Kennan’s containment theories may have seemed like part 
of the problem to most liberation advocates, but his thinking on 
clandestine political warfare against the Soviets was most welcome 
to Eisenhower and dominated the scene at the Solarium strategy 
conferences. Eisenhower himself personally endorsed Kennan’s 
stratagems, his analysis of East-West affairs, and the former diplo¬ 
mat himself. 62 

The president and his advisers decisively renewed the ongoing 
program of harassment and destabilization inside Eastern Europe 
that had given birth to the Nazi utilization efforts in the first place. 
Further efforts to “reduce indigenous Communist power” through 
clandestine CIA action were approved in both Western Europ e and 
the thir d w orld. Guatemala and the Middle East were also singled 
ouTTof CIA attention^while agency Director Allen Dulles pro¬ 
moted a renewed attempt to overthrow the government in Al¬ 
bania.* 

""'The' clandestine action provisions of Solarium were later codified 
in NSC 5412, a slightly revised version of Truman’s NSC 10/2 cov¬ 
ert warfare decision. NSC 5412 again affirmed that the United 
States was fully committed to a broad campaign of political war 
against the USSR. 63 It again affirmed that “underground resistance 
movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups”—obviously 
including the various surviving collaborationist organizations from 

*In 1985 the State Department published a number of key Solarium records in its highly 
regarded series, Foreign Relations of the United States. Unfortunately it chose to delete 
almost the entire text of the program put forward by Frank Wisner and Admiral Richard L. 
Connolly’s “Team C” concerning clandestine operations. 

The deletions in these documents are not easily apparent to the casual reader of the 
Foreign Relations volumes, and that has led to considerable misinterpretation of the Solar¬ 
ium record. The Washington Post reported after the new Solarium papers were published, 
for example, that Eisenhower had flatly rejected Wisner’s covert operations plan. In fact, 
however, the conferences concluded that the United States should selectively integrate 
stepped-up clandestine action into the broader U.S. security policy. 

The State Department’s decision to publish only an expurgated version of the Solarium 
record contributes to the continuing confusion over what U.S. foreign policy actually was 
during the 1950s. This is particularly unfortunate considering the role the Solarium sessions 
played in setting the stage for America’s clandestine entrance into the Vietnam conflict, the 
decision to undertake a coup in Guatemala, and other covert operations of the day that have 
since proved to have had far-reaching implications for U.S. relations abroad. 



The Politics of “Liberation” 


245 


Eastern Europe—were still at the center of U.S. covert paramilitary 
programs. 

In the meantime, however, the existing threads of clandestine 
operations, liberation politics, and the abandonment of war crimes 
investigations and prosecutions were woven together into a new 
and more disturbing tapestry. By 1953 the CIA was willing to 
finance and protect not simply former Nazis and Gestapo men but 
even senior officers of Adolf Eichmann’s SS section Amt IV B 4, the 
central administrative apparatus of the Holocaust. 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 


Brunner and von Bolschwing 


/fThe tough-guy ethos of most professional intelligence officers has 
//always militated against letting conventional ethical considerations 
I stand in the way of collecting information or carrying out special 
| Ioperations. “We’re not in the Boy Scouts,” as latter-day CIA Direc¬ 
tor Richard Helms often said. “If we’d wanted to be in the Boy 
Scouts we would have joined the Boy Scouts.” 1 

By the time Allen Dulles became CIA director in 1953, almost all 
resistance within the CIA to using Nazi criminals to accomplish the 
agency’s mission seems to have evaporated. In the Lebed affair top 
CIA officials as well as the U.S. attorney general intervened to 
“legalize” the ex-OUN man’s status in the United States after Lebed 
had been accidentally caught by an overeager INS agent. In a 
second case, that of former SS officer Otto von Bolschwing, the 
agency smoothed the former Nazi’s entry into the country through 
consultations with interagency intelligence coordinating commit¬ 
tees, then contacted “outsiders” at the INS—in writing—on the 
ex-Nazi’s behalf. In the arcana of espionage etiquette, these acts are 
unmistakable indicators of high-level consent for von Bolschwing’s 
immigration. 2 

But the key phrase remained “to accomplish the agency’s mis¬ 
sion.” Nazis were never employed or protected for their own sake, 
but only as a means to achieve some other goal that was presumably 
in the interests of U.S. national security. Conversely, the fact that 


246 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 247 


a man might have been a mass murderer did not by itself disqualify 
him from working for the agency if he was believed to be useful. 
And once such a person had worked for U.S. intelligence, there was 
inevitably pressure to protect him, if only to keep out of the public 
eye the operations he had been involved in. 

There was, it is true, concern inside the CIA about the possible 
public relations problems involved in employing persons who had 
been compromised by their earlier service to the Nazis. In the case 
of Belorussian Nazi leader Stanislaw Stankievich, for example, his 
CIA case officers fretted during the 1950s and 1960s that Stan¬ 
kievich “has been and perhaps remains ardently Fascist” and that 
“continued use [of him] might be a source of embarrassment to the 
Project and/or the Agency.” 3 Stankievich, who had once served as 
the SS-appointed mayor of Borisov during a 1941 pogrom that took 
the lives of thousands of Jews, was at the time of the CIA officer’s 
comments a leading member of the Institute for the Study of the 
USSR in Munich, a CIA-financed emigre think tank affiliated with 
Radio Liberation. The Munich institute is the “Project” to which 
the quoted CIA records refer. 

According to the CIA’s own documentation, the agency oversaw 
Stankievich’s recruitment to the institute, then reviewed and 
passed on his various promotions as he rose through the ranks there. 
The agency also directly intervened to bring him to the United 
States, according to a study by the U.S. General Accounting Office, 
by falsely certifying that it had no derogatory information on Stan¬ 
kievich that would bar him from coming into the country when in 
fact, it had a record of his role in the Borisov massacre and of his 
ongoing association with extremist emigre organizations. 4 

The only known internal opposition to this Nazi’s repeated pro¬ 
fessional promotions and eventual U.S. citizenship came from a CIA 
officer who was clearly disturbed by Stankievich’s continuing dedi¬ 
cation to Fascist causes. Yet the agency’s informal code of conduct 
impelled the officer to make the only complaint that might have 
any effect—that is, using the “Butcher of Borisov” (as Stankievich 
had come to be called) was a mistake not because Stankievich 
played a role in a pogrom but because he “might be a source of 
embarrassment.” 5 In the end, however, this protest, too, was over¬ 
ridden. 

There were occasional internal purges of former Fascists for pub¬ 
lic relations reasons from time to time during the 1950s. A series of 
Soviet propaganda broadsides exposing Nazis at RFE and RL in 



248 BLOWBACK 


1954 led to the dismissals or reassignments of thirteen employees. 
And Eberhardt Taubert, a former Goebbels ministry propagandist 
with anti-Semitic credentials stretching back to the 1920s, was 
forced to resign from the directorship of the CIA- and German 
government-financed Peoples League for Peace and Freedom in 

1955 under public pressure, even though Taubert himself claimed 
to have abandoned Nazi thinking. 6 A handful of other examples 
along these same lines cropped up in the course of the decade. 

But the fundamental decision to exploit anyone who might have 
something to offer to the struggle against Moscow remained un¬ 
touched. This is precisely because such “pragmatism” is at the very 
heart of contemporary clandestine practice. Using Nazis (or the 
Mafia or, conversely, a church-sponsored organization of college 
students) was never an aberration in the minds of most intelligence 
operatives. This is simply the way clandestine wars are fought, they 
say, whether the general public likes it or not. 

Still, public opinion does remain a factor, at least in the West. 
Gehlen’s organization benefited greatly from that fact because the 
CIA often turned to Gehlen when it wished to bury certain very 
sensitive operations even more deeply than usual. At those times 
his contacts among former SS and Gestapo men could be uniquely 
valuable. One such occasion took place in Egypt in late 1953, 
shortly after Solarium’s renewed approval of large-scale CIA coun¬ 
termeasures aimed at offsetting Soviet influence in the Mideast. 
There the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled the activities of 
SS Sturmbannfiihrer Alois Brunner, a man considered by many to 
be the most depraved Nazi killer still at large. 

Brunner had once been Eichmann’s top deportations expert for 
the entire Reich. He was a skilled administrator who specialized in 
driving Jews into ghettos, then systematically deporting them to 
the extermination camps. This was a difficult job, requiring a keen 
sense of the exact types of terror and psychological manipulation 
necessary to disarm his victims. 

Brunner did not simply administer the deportations. He was a 
troubleshooter who rushed from Berlin to Gestapo offices through¬ 
out occupied Europe to train local Nazi satraps in how to carry out 
the destruction of Jews quickly and thoroughly. He did not neglect 
the murder of children because (as he told Berlin lawyer Kurt 
Schendel, who was pleading on behalf of a group of French or¬ 
phans) they were “future terrorists.” Brunner studied hard for his 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 249 


assignment and is said to have eventually become an expert on the 
railway systems of Europe so that he could locate enough boxcars 
to carry out his mission for the fatherland. “He’s one of my best 
men,” Eichmann said. 7 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates that Brunner is person¬ 
ally responsible for the murder of 128,500 people. The French 
government eventually convicted him in absentia of crimes against 
humanity and sentenced him to death. Instead of facing trial, how¬ 
ever, Brunner was in Damascus, Syria, where he had become 
Gehlen’s “resident”—a post similar in authority to the CIA chief of 
station—shortly after the contract for the Org had been picked up 
by the Americans in 1946, keeping him safe from the French. His 
alias was “Georg Fischer.” 8 Brunner/Fischer eventually became an 
important part of a CIA-financed program to train Egyptian secu¬ 
rity forces. 

The Egyptian episode began as an attempt to protect U.S. inter¬ 
ests in Egypt as the monarchy of King Farouk crumbled. Frank 
Wisner had dispatched his top troubleshooter in the Mideast, Ker- 
mit (“Kim^Roosevelt, to Cairo as early as 1951 to open secret 
hegotiations \vTThTColone 1 Gamal Abdel Nasser and his insurgent 
Society of Free Officers. They found, Roosevelt telegraphed back to 
Washington, “a large area of agreement.” 9 Nasser asked Roosevelt 
for aid in building up Egypt’s military intelligence and internal 
security squads. Both men agreed that a better-trained security 
force was in the mutual interest of both Egypt and the United 
States. But domestic politics in both countries required that the 
American involvement in this effort be kept very low-profile. 

So CIA Director Allen Dulles turned to Gehlen in 1953 for help 
in the Egyptian situation. Gehlen’s men and the contract agents he 
kept on tap had many of the qualities that Dulles was looking for: 
They were experienced in police security work, were willing to 
work cheaply, and were not inclined to call attention to themselves. 
The committed anti-Semitism of some of Gehlen’s men was also a 
plus, at least in the eyes of some members of the Egyptian secret 
service. At the same time West Germany’s deeply conflicted rela¬ 
tionship with Israel during the postwar period ensured that almost 
any group of German experts who went to Egypt could be easily 
penetrated and internally monitored by both Gehlen and the CIA 
as the project went forward. 

Gehlen enlisted the help of Otto Skorzeny, a hulking former SS 
Sturmbannfiihrer who had once been dubbed by the wartime Ger- 



250 BLOWBACK 


man press “Hitler’s favorite commando.” At six feet four inches and 
220 pounds, with appropriately arrogant “Aryan” features and a 
five-inch dueling scar down his left cheek, Skorzeny had trans¬ 
formed himself during the war from an unknown SS truck driver 
into a walking symbol of Nazi strength and cunning. He had special¬ 
ized in training behind-the-lines sabotage and assassination teams 
for SS RSHA Amt VI during the war as well as in daring commando 
raids to rescue Mussolini and to kidnap recalcitrant Hungarian 
politicians and in similar exploits. Hitler loved him and seemed to 
believe that Skorzeny and his gang of cutthroats would become the 
secret weapon that could single-handedly reverse Germany’s disas¬ 
trous military losses. 10 

Skorzeny did nothing to reduce his legend after the war. At one 
point he escaped from American custody under mysterious circum¬ 
stances while awaiting a denazification trial in 1948, leaving behind 
a note claiming that he had “only done my duty to my Fatherland” 
both during the war and after it. Skorzeny pictured himself as 
something like a latter-day Scarlet Pimpernel fighting for the 
“honor” of Hitler’s Germany and the SS against overwhelming 
odds. 11 He spent many of the early postwar years deeply involved 
in running escape operations through Spain and Syria for fugitive 
Fascists. Both the Odessa and die Spinne (the Spider) SS escape 
organizations revolved in large part around the personality—and 
the myth—of Otto Skorzeny. 

As intelligence veteran Miles Copeland tells the story, Gehlen 
wanted to subcontract the CIA’s Egyptian training mission to 
Skorzeny in 1953. The former Sturmbannfuhrer demurred, how¬ 
ever. The Egyptians simply did not pay enough, he argued. Gehlen 
promised that Skorzeny’s salary from Nasser would be subsidized 
with CIA money laundered through the Org and that the expenses 
of the operation would also be covered by American funds. 
Skorzeny’s position in Egypt, furthermore, would give him a valu¬ 
able entree into the lucrative Middle Eastern arms trade. Cope¬ 
land, who was personally involved in the affair, reports that “a 
certain well-known Major General of the American Army” (whom 
he declines to identify) was enlisted to convince the former Nazi 
commando that his services were greatly needed in Egypt. 12 

When Skorzeny continued to balk, Gehlen brought pressure to 
bear on Skorzeny’s father-in-law and chief financial sponsor, Dr. 
Hjalmar Schacht. Schacht, who had been Hitler’s financial genius of 
clandestine rearmament, had only recently avoided an eight-year 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 251 


prison sentence when his conviction under denazification laws had 
been quashed by John McCloy, the U.S. high commissioner in Ger¬ 
many. When Schacht, too, stressed the usefulness of helping the 
Americans, Skorzeny came around at last. He agreed to take the 
Egyptian training mission, on the condition that his stay in Cairo be 
limited. 

Over the next eighteen months Skorzeny used CIA money to 
recruit for the Egyptian security services about 100 German advis¬ 
ers, many of whom he reached through neo-Nazi organizations and 
SS escape networks. Among his wards were Hermann Lauter- 
bacher, an SS man and former deputy leader of the Hitler Youth, 
and Franz Buensch, a Goebbels propagandist best known for his 
pornographic work The Sexual Habits of Jews. Buensch, Gehlen’s 
resident chief in Cairo, was a veteran of Eichmann’s SS “Jewish 
Affairs” office. 13 

This “talented” group was later joined by Alois Brunner. As 
“Georg Fischer,” Brunner moved to Cairo in the midst of the 
Skorzeny project in Egypt and quickly integrated himself into that 
effort. He remained in Cairo until 1962, when an exploding Israeli 
letter bomb tore off several of his fingers. The Israeli intelligence 
service Mossad has claimed—unofficially, of course—that after 
Brunner’s stint with Skorzeny he enjoyed a second Egyptian con¬ 
tract under which he helped recruit a corps of German rocket 
experts on behalf of the Egyptian government. 14 Israeli secret 
agents are said to have undertaken the letter bomb campaign that 
very nearly killed Brunner. 

The Times of London reports that Brunner returned to Syria 
after the bomb attack. He lives today in the prosperous Abu Ruma- 
neh district of Damascus. 15 

What the CIA knew, if anything, of the background of “Georg 
Fischer” will remain a mystery until its files on the Skorzeny opera¬ 
tion are opened. Considering, however, that American tax money 
was underwriting both Gehlen and the Skorzeny project, and con¬ 
sidering Skorzeny’s frequent efforts to promote himself as an inter¬ 
national neo-Nazi leader and benefactor of SS fugitives, it is reason¬ 
able to ask just what steps, if any, the CIA took to determine who 
it was it had hired to train Nasser’s secret service. 

A good place to begin such an inquiry is with the former CIA 
agent Miles Copeland, who worked closely with the German advis¬ 
ers assembled by Gehlen and Skorzeny in Egypt. Copeland’s writ¬ 
ings do not discuss Brunner, but he confirms that it was Skorzeny 



252 


BLOWBACK 


who did the contracting for the Egyptian project and that he 
brought in about 100 German advisers. The hirelings “were not— 
or in some cases not quite —war criminals,” Copeland writes. 

Copeland insists that the men he worked with were not “unre¬ 
pentant Nazis.” Their rejection of neo-Nazi ideology might actually 
be considered unfortunate in a certain sense, in Copeland’s opinion, 
“because as mere survivalists rather than men of principle, even 
wrong principle,” he writes, “they find no difficulty in adjusting to 
Leftish influences in Nasser’s government.” 16 

Copeland’s frank comment is a revealing illustration of a much 
broader trend of thinking in U.S. government security circles dur¬ 
ing the 1950s. Because the Soviets were also recruiting selected 
former Nazis after the war, Copeland argues, “we simply could not 
bring ourselves to let valuable non-Anglo-American assets (who, as 
Nazis, were under perfect ‘cover’) go to waste.” He continues: “It 
was to our advantage to have [Nazi intelligence specialists] ab¬ 
sorbed, with a minimum of fuss and embarrassment, by various 
countries of the world where they could live inconspicuously and 
earn a living.” This policy was the necessary “amorality of power 
politics,” he argues. “Believe it or not”—Copeland approvingly 
quotes an unidentified U.S. Army intelligence colonel—“some of us 
are still able to put future American interests ahead of the delights 
of revenge.” 17 

The story of U.S. intelligence relations with criminals such as 
Brunner is of necessity fragmentary, for both the CIA and Brunner 
himself have taken extensive measures to keep such affairs hidden. 
It is clear, however, that Brunner was not an exception to the rule 
who managed to ingratiate himself with the Americans through 
guile or through an oversight. There is, in fact, at least one other 
known case of U.S. recruitment of another SS veteran of Adolf 
Eichmann’s “Jewish Affairs” office, the elite committee that served 
as the central administrative apparatus of the Nazis’ campaign to 
exterminate the Jews. 

That recruit’s name is Baron Otto von Bolschwing. Supremely 
opportunist, von Bolschwing succeeded in traversing the whole 
evolution of U.S. policy toward Nazi criminals. He had profited 
during the war from the Nazi confiscation of Jewish property, then 
later from the defeat of Nazi Germany itself. Von Bolschwing en¬ 
listed as a Cl C informer for the Americans in the spring of 1945, 
and before two years were out, CIA agents in Vienna, Austria, had 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 253 

recognized his skills and recruited him for special work on some of 
the most sensitive missions the agency has ever undertaken. These 
included running secret agents behind the Iron Curtain and even 
spying on Gehlen himself on behalf of the Americans. 

Von Bolschwing was deeply involved in intelligence work—and 
in the persecution of innocent people—for most of his adult life. He 
had joined the Nazi party at the age of twenty-three, in 1932, and 
had become an SD (party security service) informer almost immedi¬ 
ately. 18 In the years leading up to 1939, von Bolschwing became a 
leading Nazi intelligence agent in the Middle East, where he 
worked under cover as an importer in Jerusalem. One of his first 
brushes with Nazi espionage work, according to captured SS rec¬ 
ords, was a role in creating a covert agreement between the Nazis | 
and Fieval Polkes, a commander of the militant Zionist organiza- J 
tion Haganah, whom von Bolschwing had met through business 
associates in the Mideast. Under the arrangement the Haganah was \ 
permitted to run recruiting and training camps for Jewish youth 
inside Germany. These young people, as well as certain other Jews 
driven out of Germany by the Nazis, were encouraged to emigrate 
to Palestine. Polkes and the Haganah, in return, agreed to provide 
the SS with intelligence about British affairs in Palestine. Captured 
German records claim that Polkes believed the increasingly brutal 
Nazi persecution of the Jews could be turned to Zionist advan¬ 
tage—at least temporarily—by compelling Jewish immigration to 
Palestine, and that the Haganah commander’s sole source of in¬ 
come, moreover, was secret funds from the SS. 19 

It was in the course of these negotiations that the young Baron 
von Bolschwing gained the trust of Adolf Eichmann, who was at the 
time an obscure SS functionary specializing in intelligence on 
Freemasonry and Jewish affairs for the Nazi party. The acquaint¬ 
ance was more than a casual one, for von Bolschwing went on to 
play a central role in arranging conferences between Eichmann 
and Polkes in Vienna and Cairo, contacts that established Eich¬ 
mann as the SS’s “Jewish affairs expert” and laid the foundation for 
his later career as the architect of the extermination of European 
Jewry. 

Perhaps it was inevitable that Eichmann—ever the plodding, 
careful clerk—would have learned about Jewry and Zionism from 
someone. But as fate would have it, it was Otto von Bolschwing who 
became Eichmann’s teacher. “The first time I was occupied with 
Jewish matters,” Eichmann testified under interrogation prior to 


O r“ 



254 BLOWBACK 


his 1962 trial for crimes against humanity, “was when [Nazi agent 
Theodor von] Mildenstein visited me at my workplace together 
with von Bolschwing—never before that.” 

Thereafter “Herr von Bolschwing would often drop in at our 
office and talk to us about Palestine,” Eichmann recalled. “He spoke 
so knowledgeably of the aims and situation of Zionism in Palestine 
and elsewhere that I gradually became an authority on Zionism. 
... I kept in touch with Herr von Bolschwing . . . because no one 
else could give me firsthand information about the country I was 
most interested in for my work.” 20 

Von Bolschwing teamed up with Eichmann in 1936 and 1937 to 
draw up the SS’s first comprehensive program for the systematic 
robbery of Europe’s Jews. “The Jews in the entire world represent 
a nation which is not bound by a country or by a people but [rather] 
by money,” von Bolschwing argues in a pivotal SS policy study. 
“Therefore they are and must always be an eternal enemy of Na¬ 
tional Socialism . . . [and they] are among the most dangerous 
enemies.” The whole point of his plan, he notes, was to “purge 
Germany of its Jews.” 21 

Of course, von Bolschwing was not the only Nazi to come up with 
schemes for persecution of Europe’s Jews, nor was he the first. His 
techniques, however, were uniquely practical and well suited for 
implementation by Germany’s modern bureaucratic state ma¬ 
chine. Within months after von Bolschwing’s proposals had cir¬ 
culated through the SS “Jewish affairs” apparatus, the SS imple¬ 
mented a series of aryanization measures in Austria that 
institutionalized many of the measures that von Bolschwing had 
outlined. These tactics then became a model for anti-Semitic perse¬ 
cution throughout Nazi-dominated Europe. 22 

The SS soon appointed von Bolschwing to a prestigious post as SS 
and SD clandestine operations chief in Bucharest, Romania. There, 
according to captured German war records, he personally helped 
organize a coup attempt and pogrom led by the Romanian Iron 
Guard, a Fascist organization that maintained fraternal ties with 
the German Nazi party. 

Iron Guardist s stormed into the Jewish sector of B ucharest o n 
January 20, 1941, burning synagogues, looting stores, and destroy- 
> ing residences. Hundreds of innocent people were rounded up for 
execution. Some victims were actually butchered in a municipal 
meat-packing plant, hung on meathooks, and branded as “kosher 
meat” with red-hot irons. Their throats were cut in an intentional 


Brunner and von Bolschwing 255 


desecration of kosher laws. Some were beheaded. “Sixty Jewish 
corpses [were discovered] on the hooks used for carcasses/’ U.S. 
Ambassador to Romania Franklin Mott Gunther wired back to 
Washington after the pogrom. “They were all skinned . . . [and] the 
quantity of blood about [was evidence] that they had been skinn ed 
alive/’ Among the victims, according to eyewitnesses, was a girl no 
more than five years old who was left hanging by her feet like a 
slaughtered calf, her body bathed in blood. 23 

Von Bolschwing helped arm and instigate the rebels by giving 
them the secret blessing of the SS, according to German records. 24 
Later he smuggled a dozen of their top leaders out of Bucharest 
when the rebellion was put down by a rival faction of Romanian 
rightists. About 630 people were killed during the violence, accord¬ 
ing to contemporary reports, with another 400 reported missing. 
“In the Bucharest morgue, one can see hundreds of corpses,” a Nazi 
military attache cabled back to headquarters in Berlin. “But they 
are mostly Jews.” 25 

At the end of the war von Bolschwing abandoned his SS comrades 
to their fates as soon as it became profitable to do so. He began 
active—one might even say enthusiastic—collaboration with the 
Allies at least as early as the spring of 1945, when American troops 
swept through western Austria. Von Bolschwing’s new alliance 
with U.S. intelligence proved to be deep and abiding. “I agreed to 
obtain for them information concerning the movements and 
strengths of the German military, including German rocket re¬ 
search at Camp Schlatt,” von Bolschwing explained later. “After 
the German surrender, I continued working for the U.S. forces, first 
in the capacity of the military government, and then starting in 
1947 in intelligence activities with the U.S. forces.... I had continu¬ 
ous service with U.S. intelligence until my departure [for America] 
in January 1954. 26 

“In 1947, 1948 and early 1949,1 was assigned [by the CIA] to the 
Gehlen Organization . . . primarily in offensive intelligence against 
the East Bloc,” he asserted in a secret interview with investigators 
from the U.S. Air Force. The CIA provided him with money, a top 
secret security clearance, and travel privileges throughout 
Europe. 27 

Officially von Bolschwing worked for Austria Verlag in Vienna, 
a branch of the Austrian League for the United Nations, according 
to records found in his archives. He used that position—along with 
the active intervention of U.S. intelligence agencies—to apply for 



256 BLOWBACK 


Austrian citizenship in 1948 and to win clearance for his Nazi activi¬ 
ties from an Austrian denazification court. 28 Otto von Bolschwing 
became one of the highest-ranking CIA contract employees in 
Europe after the war. His responsibilities included spotting and 
recruiting agents, and he specialized in cross-border operations 
infiltrating spies into Hungary and Romania. 

There can be little doubt that the U.S. intelligence agencies that 
made extensive use of von Bolschwing were aware of his role in the 
Bucharest pogrom. At the end of the war, the United States had 
captured the SS and German Foreign Office files in Bucharest 
nearly intact, including extensive SS files concerning the 1941 po¬ 
grom. The seizure of these records was regarded by the OSS as one 
of the most important intelligence triumphs of the war, and they 
were rapidly analyzed by a team of American experts. According 
to the official war report of the OSS, the records permitted the 
identification of more than 4,000 Axis intelligence agents, about 
100 subversive organizations, and some 200 firms used as commer¬ 
cial covers by Nazi spies. The files were transmitted to Allied head¬ 
quarters, according to the OSS report, and were used in the Nurem¬ 
berg investigations into Nazi war crimes. 29 

There is another important bit of evidence concerning American 
awareness of von Bolschwing’s relationship with the Iron Guard 
leadership and the 1941 pogroms. According to a sworn deposition 
von Bolschwing gave to the U.S. Justice Department in June 1979, 
he was utilized by U.S. intelligence precisely because of his Iron 
Guard connections. “In the summer of 1948, at the height of the 
Civil War in Greece, I was asked by my American courier officer 
to make contact with the Romanians, who might influence the 
Greek situation,” von Bolschwing asserted in the interview. “In the 
course of that endeavor, I visited with Mr. Constantin Papanace [a 
top Iron Guard minister whose life von Bolschwing had saved dur¬ 
ing the war], who was residing under the presumed auspices of the 
Vatican in or near Rome....” Von Bolschwing’s contacts in the Iron 
Guard, some of whom were still inside Romania at the time, be¬ 
came central figures in the espionage network he was running for 
the CIA. 30 

Von Bolschwing left the Gehlen Organization in late 1949 but 
retained his U.S. sponsorship in a new operation under even deeper 
cover. He managed to convince American authorities for a time 
that rival powers were using the Nazi and Wehrmacht old boy 
networks to infiltrate the Org. 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 257 


“The French, British and also Russians had gotten hold of a large 
number of [German] General Staff officers/' von Bolschwing re¬ 
called later. “Each one of them was using them in intelligence 
work. Recognizing the traditional closeness of most German intelli¬ 
gence personnel and General Staff personnel, I feared that we were 
being penetrated by the East, rather than penetrating them.” He 
obtained U.S. funding to establish yet another (though much 
smaller) secret German intelligence organization, which operated 
parallel to Gehlen’s. It continued infiltrations into Eastern Europe, 
at the same time discreetly keeping an eye on Gehlen’s work for 
his American sponsors. 31 

In 1953, for reasons that are as yet unclear, the CIA decided to 
bring Otto von Bolschwing to the United States. Von Bolschwing— 
as a former SS man, Nazi party member, and Nazi SD agent—was 
clearly ineligible for a visa to the United States or American citizen¬ 
ship, and the CIA knew it. As in the Lebed, Shandruk, and Stan- 
kievich cases, the CIA did not attempt to bring von Bolschwing into 
the country “legally” under the special authority it enjoyed 
through the 100 Persons Act. Instead, at least two high-ranking CIA 
officers—including Everett C. O'Neal, who is most recently re¬ 
ported to be CIA chief of station in a plum assignment—engineered 
a complicated scheme to spirit the former Nazi illegally into this 
country. 32 

According to the CIA's own records, von Bolschwing’s supervi¬ 
sory agents concluded prior to his departure from Europe that they 
would have to quash the routine character inquiries ordinarily 
made of prospective U.S. citizens if they expected to get him into 
the country. The “Department of State’s background investiga¬ 
tion,” the CIA resolved, “would have to be controlled.” 33 The 
agency set out to do just that. 

First, it supplied the former Nazi with a false police report and 
military background check that claimed that no derogatory infor¬ 
mation was known about him. Next, a senior CIA officer personally 
accompanied von Bolschwing to the U.S. Consulate in Munich and 
convinced the visa officer there to provide all the necessary travel 
paperwork virtually overnight. 

Later agency headquarters in Washington directly intervened 
again, this time with the State Department and the INS, to ensure 
that von Bolschwing’s entry into the United States went smoothly. 
In its letter to the INS the CIA falsely claimed that it had “con¬ 
ducted a full investigation of the subject [von Bolschwing]” and 



258 BLOWBACK 


“had no reason to believe him inadmissible.” 34 In reality, of course, 
the agency knew perfectly well he was inadmissible; that is why it 
had fabricated the military and police clearance forms for him in 
the first place. 

Von Bolschwing’s travel documents at the time he arrived in this 
country were full of inconsistencies, but the immigration authori¬ 
ties admitted him nonetheless. His passport—actually a “Tempo¬ 
rary Travel Document in Lieu of Passport” issued by the U.S. State 
Department in Berlin—contradicted his immigration visa on at 
least five points. He did have at least one thing going for him, 
however. His visa listed his destination as “Washington 25,” a De¬ 
partment of State post office known to intelligence insiders as a mail 
drop for the CIA and other U.S. security agencies. The U.S. sponsor 
on his visa application was Colonel Roy Goggin, a career U.S. Army 
Counterintelligence Corps officer who had worked closely with von 
Bolschwing for almost a decade. 35 

CIA spokesmen will say nothing official about the von Bolschwing 
affair. Key aspects of the case, however, have been pushed onto the 
public record by a criminal prosecution of the former Nazi during 
the late 1970s, a government General Accounting Office study of 
Nazi immigration to the United States, and investigative reporting 
by Pet er Carey of the S aiiJose Mercury News andi5ytEiFauthor. 36 
TKeThorethat is known about tHis*episode7the more serious its 
implications become. 

To put the most positive possible face on the matter, the CIA’s 
“official” version of events is that yes, it did bring von Bolschwing 
into the United States in early 1954 and it did know at the time that 
he was an SS man, a former Nazi party security service (SD) agent, 
and a Nazi party functionary, among other things. But no, it did not 
know he was a war criminal. This is the classified account that the 
CIA provided to U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigator 
John Tipton on the condition that the GAO keep von Bolschwing’s 
identity secret. 

(Tipton was making an official inquiry into von Bolschwing’s ar¬ 
rival in the United States following a congressional request for 
information on Nazis who worked for U.S. intelligence. Tipton re¬ 
spected the CIA’s request for confidentiality in his report to the 
House Judiciary Committee and used an anonymous designation, 
“Subject C,” to refer to von Bolschwing in his account of relations 
between U.S. intelligence agencies and former Nazis. 37 The CIA 
even officially cleared Tipton’s study before it was released to the 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 259 


public. Despite this attempt to keep von Bolschwing’s identity se¬ 
cret, however, it is without doubt that the anonymous man called 
“Subject C” in Tipton’s report to the Congress is, in fact, Otto von 
Bolschwing. 38 ) 

The CIA’s cryptic admission is, by itself, shocking. Since when, it 
might be asked, was it considered acceptable to smuggle SS men, 
SD agents, and Nazi party veterans into the United States as long 
as “we didn’t know” that they were war criminals? What exactly 
was the standard of proof used at the time to determine who was, 
and who was not, a “suspected” war criminal? Considering that 
Otto von Bolschwing had spent most of his adult life working full¬ 
time as a salaried executive of the Nazi party security service and 
SS police apparatus, the CIA’s refusal even to suspect that he might 
have committed crimes against humanity appears to give him a 
presumption of innocence of truly munificent proportions. 

In reality, however, the agency’s assertion that it “didn’t know” 
that von Bolschwing was a criminal at the time he entered the 
United States is most likely a lie. His involvement in the Bucharest 
pogrom, for example, would be evident to anyone making a routine 
check of captured SS files at the Berlin Document Center, not to 
mention the much more extensive group of records concerning the 
Bucharest events that were then in CIA hands. 

And if the agency had simply missed this evidence through some 
fluke, why, then, did it set out deliberately to obstruct any other 
investigation into the former SS man’s bona fides? Its suppression 
of the routine visa inquiry into von Bolschwing’s affairs clearly 
suggests that something more than a naive presumption of inno¬ 
cence was at work here. For one thing, muzzling the State Depart¬ 
ment’s visa examination was itself highly irregular. For another, 
why would the CIA go out of its way to “control” State’s review 
unless there was some concern about what it might uncover? The 
implication is inescapable: The CIA believed that von Bolschwing 
was guilty of war crimes, not innocent, and was worried that even 
a brief study of his visa application might reveal that fact. 

The cases of SS veterans like Alois Brunner and Otto von Bolsch¬ 
wing provide a small but documented glimpse into a broad trend 
of events in U.S. intelligence relations with the former “assets” of 
Nazi Germany’s intelligence services. By the time von Bolschwing 
entered the United States in 1954, his former patron, Reinhard t 
GehlnnjJiad^ parlay ed his American backing into de facto recogni-V 



260 


BLOWBACK 


tio n as the official intelli gence service of the e merging Fed eral^, 
RepjobliG-of-XJelTnany. ClADirector Allen DuliesTikecTCehlenfor 
the simple reason^that he seemed to produce useful results. 
Gehlen’s intelligence assets in Eastern Europe appeared to be solid, 
and his contacts in t he German-speaking enc laves in South Amer¬ 
ica, the Middle East, and Africa were second to none. His OrgUlso 
helpe3^the~Unite3^Stater^IIect signals intelligence, though his 
work in that area was still not up to the British standard. All these 
services and more, and all at what seemed a reasonable price. 

If there were former SS and Gestapo men at Gehlen’s Pullach 
headquarters, senior members of the American intelligence com¬ 
munity didn’t want to know enough about them to be forced to do 
something about it. “I don’t know if he’s a rascal,” Dulles said of 
Gehlen. “There are few archbishops in espionage. . . . Besides, one 
needn’t ask him to one’s club.” 39 

One incident vividly illustrates the power of the Gehlen Organi¬ 
zation in Washington during Allen Dulles’s tenure as director of 
Central Intelligence. In October 1954 West German Chancellor 
Konrad Adenauer visited the United States in the midst of sensitive 
negotiations to enlist West Germany as a full member of the NATO 
alliance. At a diplomatic reception the then chief of U.S. Army 
intelligence. General Arthur Trudeau, personally told the chancel¬ 
lor that he did not trust “that spooky Nazi outfit at Pullach.” 40 He 
suggested that it would be wise for the Germans to clean house 
before they were admitted to NATO. Word of the incident was 
leaked to the press, infuriating Allen Dulles. 

In the ruckus that followed, General Trudeau was backed by the 
turf-conscious Joint Chiefs of Staff, while Dulles rallied his brother, 
John Foster Dulles, then secretary of state, to Gehlen’s defense. 
When the dust_ cleared, Gehlen h ad been appointed c hi ef of West 
(Ge rmany's new" o^fficial^intelligence agenc y, the Bundesnachrich : 
tendienst (BT^TD), and Trudeau had abruptly left intelligence work 
for a less visible command in the Far East. He quietly retired from 
the military a few years later. 41 

The frailty—from a strictly practical point of view—of Gehlen’s 
heavy reliance on former Nazi intelligence operatives did not be¬ 
come clear until almost a decade later, when the chief of Gehlen’s 
counterespionage division was revealed to be a Soviet spy. 

Ironically it was precisely the camaraderie and trust found 
among the old Nazis in the Gehlen Org that the USSR used to do 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 261 


its penetration job. This particular case stands out because of the 
far-reaching damage this spy did to Western intelligence, though it 
is possible to cite many lesser examples. The name of the Soviet 
double agent—a former SS Obersturmfiihrer who had once led 
Nazi gangs during the 1938 night of looting and temple burnings 
known as the Kristallnacht —is Heinz Felfe. 

Felfe never would have gotten into the Gehlen Organization in 
the first place had he not been a Nazi and an SS man. He was 
recruited in 1951 by SS veteran Hans Clemens, who in turn had 
been picked up by ex-SS Oberfiihrer Willi Krichbaum, one of the 
Org’s original circle of Nazi officers personally enlisted by Gehlen 
back in 1946. Krichbaum was at the time Gehlen’s chief organizer 
in Bad Reichenhall, and he relied heavily on references from SS and 
SD veterans to locate and clear new agents. But SS man Clemens 
was a Soviet spy, as it turns out, and once Clemens was on board, 
he recruited Felfe. 42 Felfe’s motivation for spying for the Russians 
appears to have been primarily ideological support for communism 
combined with a desire for money, although the complex psycho¬ 
logical forces at work in any double agent’s mind are notoriously 
hard to discern. 

Felfe traded on his Nazi credentials to win the trust of other 
Gehlen Organization leaders. The Soviets carefully cultivated their 
inside man and kept him well supplied with doctored information 
that permitted him to capture supposedly important Russian spies 
as well as to gather what seemed to be detailed information on East 
German intelligence. Felfe’s sterling performance soon made him 
one of Gehlen’s favorites, and he was promoted to chief of the 
organization’s anti-Russian counterintelligence section. Later 
Gehlen gave Felfe extensive responsibilities for liaison with the CIA 
and other Western espionage groups and even placed him in 
charge of Gehlen’s own effort to spot East bloc spies inside the Org 
itself. 

Every aspect of West German intelligence was open to Felfe. If 
there were any secrets at all that he missed, it was only because 
there is a human limit to how much spying one man can do in ten 
years. By the time he was finally exposed through the decoding of 
an intercepted radio message, Felfe’s espionage had destroyed hun¬ 
dreds of the Org’s remaining agent networks inside Eastern 
Europe. His treachery led to the arrest of almost 100 senior Gehlen 
agents as well as revealed codes, communications, and courier 
channels on which both Gehlen and the Americans depended, ac- 



262 BLOWBACK 


cording to evidence brought out at Felfe’s espionage trial. 43 Finally, 
Felfe had tunneled so much half-accurate and suspect information 
concerning Soviet agents into Western hands that significant parts 
of both West German and American counterintelligence had to be 
uprooted and begun all over again. 

The Felfe case, along with the Philby affair in England, which 
broke open about a year later, sent a shock wave of panic through 
the CIA. The internal German damage assessment detailing agents 
and information Felfe had compromised ran to tens of thousands 
of pages, and the money necessary to rebuild the networks he had 
sold out to the Soviets certainly totaled tens of millions of dollars. 
The supposedly secure brotherhood of German intelligence spe¬ 
cialists on which the CIA had spent so much to build turned out to 
be a house of cards, and the American decision to look the other 
[way when the Gehlen Organization had gone about enlisting SS 
linen was an important part of the blunder. The Felfe affair is an 
important indicator that even when one leaves aside all questions 
of morality, the CIA’s Nazi utilization programs never did produce 
the practical benefits to the United States that their sponsors once 
claimed they would. 

By the time Felfe was arrested, however, the CIA’s commitment 
to Gehlen had become a matter of high policy. The skinny German 
general was ensconced as chieftain of the secret service of one of 
America’s most important allies. There was very little that the CIA 
could do about the Felfe affair except to ride it through and use 
whatever revelations it produced to improve U.S. counterintelli¬ 
gence practices. Gehlen himself remained sacrosanct despite the 
Felfe revelations. He was not removed from office. A brief purge 
shook out a handful of ex-Nazis who were in on the Felfe affair, 
along with a few others, like Brunner, whose records as mass mur¬ 
derers were simply too grotesque to ignore. 44 

The purge of certain Nazis in the wake of the Felfe matter and 
the CIA’s ongoing efforts to conceal its relationships with Brunner 
and von Bolschwing point up another important fact: A s ubstantial 
segment of the American public has long opposed the us e of Nazi s 
andAvarcTTfninals incIandFstihqoperationsr WHen specific cases of 
this type have comeTtolight in the past, as they did in the wake of 
the Felfe trial, public pressure has forced the CIA and even the 
Gehlen Organization to abandon at least some of the former Nazis 
on the intelligence payroll. Public condemnation of the CIA’s use 
of Nazis in clandestine operations of questionable morality and 



Brunner and von Bolschwing 263 


uncertain legality is not simply a product of America’s present-day 
reexamination of intelligence practices, nor is it ex post facto moral¬ 
izing to oppose these affairs today. The use of Nazis has, instead, 
often been the subject of general opprobrium—at least outside the 
elite national security circles of the government—and it is for that 
reason that the government attempts to conceal such practices to 
this day. 

The revelations of the full implications of the Felfe affair were 
still well in the future back in 1954, however, when President 
Eisenhower and his National Security Council approved NSC 5412 
and the related measures that were intended to guide U.S. covert 
operations for the remainder of his administration. That decision, 
it will be recalled, was the latter-day recapitulation of Truman’s 
NSC 10/2 clandestine political warfare directive, and NSC 5412 
again affirmed that “underground resistance movements, guerrillas 
and refugee liberation groups” 45 were the main forces in U.S. cov¬ 
ert paramilitary programs of the day. These directives provided the 
broad strategic outline through which both the Nazi programs and 
the government’s rhetorical commitment to liberating Eastern 
Europe were supposed to be executed. 

The underground forces of NSC 5412 were to be the “bite” 
behind liberation’s “bark,” so to speak; they were the armed squads 
that were to ignite a popular revolt inside the satellite states that 
would “roll back communism” in Eastern Europe. By mid-1956 the 
CIA’s clandestine operations chief, Frank Wisner, had decided that 
the time was ripe to act. 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 

The End of "Liberation ’ 7 


Push came to shove for the “liberation” program that had provided 
the policy framework for the ex-Nazi recruitment programs in 
Hungary in November 1956. Under CIA covert operations chief 
Frank Wisner’s guidance, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation 
had hammered away at the liberation theme for Eastern European 
audiences through the first half of the 1950s. Listeners were told 
that America strongly supported freedom for the Soviet satellites, 
that the U.S. government was convinced that this freedom would 
come “soon,” and that the United States was willing to do its part 
to help bring this about. What exactly this all meant in terms of aid 
was never stated explicitly in the broadcasts, but the tone of the 
rhetoric left little doubt that the Americans would do something. 

The discontent inside the satellite countries that the agency’s 
broadcasts attempted to tap was very real; the subsequent revolts 
in Poland, Hungary, and eventually Czechoslovakia proved that. 
But the liberationists had seriously misjudged the balance of inter¬ 
national power. To put it most bluntly, the Soviets were yyilliqgjo 
^fcf Mfidert a ke a nuclea r war to preserve t heir hold ov e r the satellite. 
qp s|^es^The-Am£ricans~thougixrHetorIcaIE Eommitted to liberation. 

wer emot-willi-ng-to- fightAVorld War .111 t o ach ieve that object. 

A^-p The tragic story of the Hungarian events 1ias~~been often told. 

' Tens of thousands of students and workers broke into the streets, 
burning local Communist party headquarters, seizing radio sta- 


264 


The End of “Liberation” 


265 


tions, and erecting barricades. Thousands of Hungarian soldiers and 
officers joined the strikers. Crack Soviet troops equipped with 
tanks, machine guns, and even jet fighter aircraft invaded Budapest 
to suppress the rebellion. They were challenged—and even held 
off, for a time—by untrained civilian militias armed only with gaso¬ 
line bombs and a handful of guns seized from local police ware¬ 
houses. 

One of the first things the Soviets did after their invasion was to 
sever all telephone contact into and out of Budapest, effectively 
sealing off the rebellion from the outside world. But by a curious 
oversight they forgot to shut down newspaper teletype lines, and 
it is through that medium that the epitaph of the liberation policy 
was written: 

RUSSIAN GANGSTERS HAVE BETRAYED US; THEY ARE OPENING 
FIRE ON ALL OF BUDAPEST. PLEASE INFORM EUROPE AND THE 
AUSTRIAN government . . . clattered a message to the Associated 
Press from rebels who had occupied the offices of the Hungarian 
state news agency building, we are under heavy machine gun 
FIRE. . . . HAVE YOU INFORMATION YOU CAN PASS ON . . . TELL ME, 
URGENT, URGENT. 

There was a pause. 

ANY NEWS ABOUT HELP? QUICKLY, QUICKLY. WE HAVE NO TIME 
TO LOSE. NO TIME TO LOSE. 

The connection broke. Soon, however, the teletype line between 
the Vienna AP office and a second Hungarian newspaper came to 
life. 

SOS SOS SOS, was banged out. THE FIGHTING IS VERY CLOSE NOW 
AND WE HAVEN’T ENOUGH TOMMY GUNS IN THE BUILDING, Buda¬ 
pest cabled. I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG WE CAN RESIST. . . . HEAVY 
SHELLS ARE EXPLODING NEARBY. . . . 

WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS DOING? GIVE US A LITTLE EN¬ 
COURAGEMENT. 

THEY’VE JUST BROUGHT A RUMOR THAT AMERICAN TROOPS WILL 
BE HERE WITHIN ONE OR TWO HOURS. . . . 

Like most rumors in war, the story was wrong. There would be 
no American soldiers in Hungary. 

Moments later this came over the UPI wire: goodbye friends. 

GOODBYE FRIENDS. GOD SAVE OUR SOULS. THE RUSSIANS ARE TOO 
NEAR . 1 

The line went dead. 

At least 15,000 people, including about 3,000 Soviet soldiers, 



266 BLOWBACK 


were killed in the fighting, according to contemporary reports. 2 

The United States huffed and puffed over Radio Free Europe. 
Wisner and a large crew of CIA agents personally manned the 
Austrian-Hungarian border, carrying out refugee relief, agent re¬ 
cruitment, and clandestine radio broadcasting. There were the 
usual protests in the United Nations. But the Western allies were 
embroiled in the dispute over the^Suez Canal at the time of the 
rebellion, and no one was willing to go nose to nose with the Rus¬ 
sians over Hungary. The_Republicajn^ administration’s l iberation 
rheto ric was p uUto^ the test—and faile d. 

^TKelVa^collaborationist exile organizations on the agency’s pay¬ 
roll again played a thoroughly counterproductive role in the Hun¬ 
garian events. In the wake of the failed rebellion there was consid¬ 
erable controversy over whether or not the United States had 
misled street fighters in Budapest into believing that U.S. military 
aid would be delivered to the rebels. Many anti-Communist Hun¬ 
garian refugees bitterly charged that such promises—supposedly 
broadcast over Radio Free Europe—had resulted in considerable 
unnecessary bloodshed when rebels held out to the last man in the 
false hope that international help was on the way. 3 

An internal inquiry, as well as a German government study, 
largely cleared RFE of those charges. The CIA then used these 
clearances to reassure congressional oversight committees—such as 
they were in those days—that the United States had not unduly 
interfered in the Hungarian events. 4 

In fact, however, misleading claims that American military aid 
was on the way had been broadcast by radio, though not by Radio 
Free Europe. According to a special investigation by the parliamen¬ 
tary Council of Europe, the Russian nationalist NTS organization 
was responsible for beaming the ill-considered pledges into Hun¬ 
gary at the height of the rebellion. The NTS, as it turns out, sporadi¬ 
cally operated a clandestine radio station named Radio Free Mos¬ 
cow, aimed at Soviet troops in East Germany, and they decided to 
send its signal into Hungary at the height of the fighting. As with 
other NTS projects of the period, Radio Free Moscow was staffed 
primarily by former Nazi collaborators—for it is they who made up 
most of the NTS leadership during the 1950s—and was almost en¬ 
tirely financed by the CIA. Whether or not the agency directly 
authorized broadcasts of the false promises concerning American 
help during the crisis is unknown. 5 

The practical result of the agency’s sponsorship of the NTS ex- 


The End of “ Liberation ” 


267 


tremists in this incident is similar in some important respects to the 
earlier pattern of events in the Ukraine. In both cases, clandestine 
U.S. sponsorship of groups dedicated to war on the Soviets enabled 
them to serve as provocateurs, in effect, triggering further blood¬ 
shed and increased repression, the primary victims of which were 
the ordinary people of those lands whom the United States pro¬ 
fessed to support. The United States, of course, made full use of the 
propaganda material provided by the brutal Soviet invasion of Hun¬ 
gary, just as it had earlier in the Ukraine. But neither crisis ad¬ 
vanced the longer-term—and more fundamental—U.S. interest in 
the creation of stable, independent states in Eastern Europe. 


The high U.S. policy decisions on clandestine operations that 
have since leaked into the public domain did not specifically men¬ 
tion the NTS or von Bolschwing, Lebed, Ostrowsky, and the other 
fugitives from war crimes charges who were entering the United 
States during the cold war. The thrust of the government’s covert 
operations authorization was, as always, support for pro-Western 
forces inside Communist countries, not for former Fascists. 

But the fact remains that quisling “governments-in-exile” fre¬ 
quently became the primary beneficiaries of the clandestine politi¬ 
cal warfare strategy. This practice gradually became so open that 
almost any scholar, journalist, or politician with a reasonably sophis¬ 
ticated knowledge of the events of World War II could have de¬ 
duced that somebody was underwriting the political activities of 
former Fascists and extreme nationalist exile leaders who had found 
their way to the United States. The political tenor of the^day^how- 


&OLLL 


ever, seems to have ensured thaT^Ti ques tions ra relv found th eir 
waylniorTrTam^^ or the media 

AT good"example oThow this self-censorship worked—ana 
political blowback it produced—may be found in the case of the 
Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN). The ACEN be¬ 
came the showcase of the CIA’s numerous exile projects inside the 
United States beginning in 1954. Although the CIA’s direct funding 
and orchestration of the ACEN remained veiled during the 1950s,* 
the U.S. government’s strong political support for the project was 
quite open. The ACEN was a miniature United Nations made up 


*A 1972 Congressional Research Study finally admitted that this effort had been bank¬ 
rolled by the CIA. That fact had become obvious to many observers much earlier, however, 
because nonclassified annual reports published by the Committee for a Free Europe had also 
openly discussed that RFE’s funds were underwriting the assembly’s activities. 



268 BLOWBACK 


of the best representatives of Eastern European life, the official 
story went. There “the efforts of the legitimate representatives of 
these nations, representing all democratic political trends and 
groups,” as the organization’s founding documents put it, “could be 
united on a continuous and enduring basis.” 6 

Above all, the ACEN was supposed to be respectable. Its job was 
to provide a dramatic counterpoint to statements made by Commu¬ 
nist UN deputies from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other satellite 
countries. It met in parallel with the official United Nations at the 
elegant Carnegie Endowment International Center on UN Plaza 
itself, considered many of the same subjects, and sought to discredit 
Soviet claims of democracy and freedom in the satellite states. The 
New York Herald Tribune welcomed its formation as a “rallying 
point for the submerged hopes and desires of subjugated popula¬ 
tions ... a voice to command the attention of the outside world.” 
Similar glowing editorial endorsements appeared in the New York 
Times, Christian Science Monitor, and many other newspapers and 
magazines. 7 

Even in this carefully groomed project, however, former Nazi 
quislings held dominant positions in several delegations. The Al¬ 
banian collaborationist Balli Kombetar organization controlled the 
pivotal ACEN Political Committee for most of the 1950s. Onetime 
Nazi collaborators also enjoyed substantial influence in the Li¬ 
thuanian delegation and in the observer group known as the Lib¬ 
eral Democratic Union of Central Eastern Europe, which was still 
another emigre political association financed primarily by the CIA. 
Latvia’s Alfreds Berzins (the former pro-Nazi propaganda minister) 
was placed in charge of the ACEN’s “Deportations” Committee, 
though the subject of its interest was Soviet deportations of Latvian 
nationalists to Siberia, not the Nazis’ wartime deportations of Jews. 
The International Peasant Union, as noted previously, was repre¬ 
sented at many ACEN functions by a mass murderer who had once 
been a Latvian police chief. 8 

It would be a mistake, however, to view the ACEN as a whole as 
a “Nazi” organization. The influential Czech delegation was con¬ 
trolled by anti-Nazi (and anti-Communist) moderate socialists. The 
Polish delegation consisted in large part of the old wartime Polish 
government-in-exile in London combined with a handful of surviv¬ 
ing Polish underground fighters, many of whom had risked their 
lives in the struggle against Germany. Most of the Hungarian emis- 



The End of “Liberation ” 


269 


saries were undisputably conservative but apparently free of culpa¬ 
bility for war crimes, and so on . 9 

The relatively mainstream character of those ACEN groups, in¬ 
cluding the anti-Communist and anti-Nazi credentials of some top 
ACEN leaders, gave this Captive Nations movement a thoroughly 
acceptable image in the eyes of the media and the public at large. 
Furthermore, the ACEN had money and contacts among powerful 
people. Its support group, American Friends of the Captive Na¬ 
tions, for example, was headed by Christopher Emmet (the onetime 
sponsor of Constantine Boldyreff) and included such notables as 
former Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce, IRC Chairman Leo 
Cherne, and noted attorney Adolf A. Berle, Jr . 10 

But other ACEN member groups, as has been seen, were deeply 
compromised by their leaders’ wartime collaboration with the 
Nazis. And those organizations, together with some of the more 
extreme nationalists in the Radio Liberation camp, drew the ACEN 
into a variety of Captive Nations coalitions with yet another Eastern 
European emigre coalition, the neo-Nazi Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of 
Nations (ABN). 

The ABN was dominated by Ukrainian nationalist veterans of the 
OUN/UPA, and it included a half dozen open Nazi collaborators on 
its executive board. Its newspaper, ABN Correspondence , pub¬ 
lished praises of wartime genocidalists such as Ustachi Fixhrer Ante 
Pavelic and Slovakian quisling Premier Monsignor Jozef Tiso. Al¬ 
freds Berzins, whom the U.S. government once termed a “fanatic 
Nazi” responsible for sending innocent people to concentration 
camps, was the president of the ABN “Peoples Council.” (Berzins 
was simultaneously a Latvian leader in the ACEN.) His vice-presi¬ 
dent at the ABN was the Belorussian quisling Radislaw Os- 
trowsky . 11 

The ABN nevertheless enjoyed substantial support among radical 
rightists on Capitol Hill. The powerful China Lobby, together with 
congressmen such as Senators McCarthy and Jenner, gave open 
support to the group and sometimes provided a national platform 
for it to air its views. These congressmen established several highly 
publicized investigating committees, including the House select 
Committee on Communist Aggression and Representative Charles 
Kersten’s inquiry into the Soviet role in the Katyn Forest massacre, 
at which the ABN both set the agenda and provided most of the 
witnesses . 12 



270 BLOWBACK 


The single most important American ABN activist was the Na¬ 
tional Security Council’s Dr. Edward M. O’Connor. O’Connor, it 
will be recalled, had been the U.S. displaced persons commissioner 
who had spearheaded the legal revisions that permitted Waffen SS 
veterans from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to enter the United 
States freely, beginning back in 1951. O’Connor moved that year 
to a post in the directorship of the NSC’s Psychological Strategy 
Board and spent most of the remainder of the 1950s in a variety of 
NSC assignments concerned with the administration of clandestine 
operations in Eastern Europe. He was a specialist in the national 
security aspects of immigration policy and made no secret of his 
political affinity for the exiled anti-Communist groups of the ABN. 
He eventually served as chairman of the private support group 
American Friends of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and as a 
founder of the National Captive Nations Committee.* 13 

The government-financed ACEN and its partially interlocked 
ally, ABN, gradually coalesced into a faction of the far right wing 
ofT he Republica n and^ to a lesser degreeTDemocratic partiesTTiy* 
1960 this Captive Nations movemenfhadTisednn^^ en¬ 

joyed in the media and in conservative circles to garner a measure 
of real power. Its annual parade committee in New York that year 
was endorsed by eighty-four senators and congressmen. Conserva¬ 
tive heavyweights such as William F. Buckley, Jr ., Sidne ^Hook , and 
FredJScElafljiPpenly promoted the event. Scores oFethnicTleaders, 
including a number of Jewish notables, mobilized for the march. 
The political tone, of course, was thoroughly patriotic, pro-Ameri¬ 
can, and anti-Communist. Nevertheless, side by side with the care¬ 
ful politicians on the rostrum were open apologists for Nazi geno¬ 
cide. 14 One of the key organizers of the 1960 event, for example, 
was Austin App, a cheerful American of German descent whose 
books History's Most Terrifying Peace and, later, The Six Million 
Swindle are considered the foundation of the “Holocaust never 
happened” school of historical revisionism. 15 

*Later Dr. O’Connor reemerged as a leading public spokesman on behalf of Ukrainian 
emigres in the United States accused of war crimes. O’Connor was announced as a featured 
speaker at a 1985 rally organized on behalf of Ivan Demjanjuk, for example, who was found 
by a U.S. federal court to have been a former Treblinka death camp guard responsible for 
loading prisoners into the gas chambers. O’Connor contended that the KGB had falsified the 
evidence against Demjanjuk. O’Connor’s son Mark, as it turns out, was Demjanjuk’s defense 
attorney. 

Edward O’Connor died at age seventy-seven on November 24, 1985. 



The End of “Liberation” 


271 


Captive Nations activists became dedicated foot soldiers in just 
about every right-wing crusade undertaken in the United States 
during the 1950s and 1960s. They turned out hundreds of demon¬ 
strators to pelt Soviet diplomats with eggs and garbage during the 
official celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the 1917 revolu¬ 
tion, for example; picketed department stores that carried goods , 
made in Eastern Europe; and disrupted local school board meetings 
with charges that small-town principals and the PTA had gone 
Communist. Captive Nations activists succeeded in purging librar¬ 
ies in some jurisdictions of books they considered insufficiently hos- j 
tile to the USSR. 

Equally important, Captive Nations lobbyists on Capitol Hill 
began to play a small but real role in American foreign affairs. They 
could not, of course, write U.S. policy. But working together with 
co rporate-fi nancedTobbies such as the proarmamerff^American Se¬ 
curit y Counci l Captivo^Nations leaders'have acted as influential 
spoilers capable of obs tructing important East-W est peace ip itia- 
tives undertaken by both Republican and Democratic administra¬ 
tions. They continue, in fact, to play that role today. 

“It is a common and long standing phenomenon of American 
political life,” George Kennan wrote some years later of his experi¬ 
ence with Captive Nations activists, . . that ethnic groups of this j 
nature, representing compact voting groups in large cities, are I 
often able to bring to bear on individual legislators, and through ! 
them on the United States government, an influence far greater! 
than an equivalent group of native citizens would be able to I 
exert.” 16 As early as July 1959 the U.S. Congress unanimously 
adopted a resolution calling for an annual Captive Nations Week. 
The CIA-funded ACEN “strongly promoted” the resolution on 
Capitol Hill, according to Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, a 
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (The use of 
CIA funds to lobby Congress, it should be noted, is a specific viola¬ 
tion of law.) The openly pro-Axis ABN also backed the bill and 
succeeded in introducing language into the text of the resolution 
calling for freedom for such “nations” as Cossackia and Idel-Ural, 
both of which are fictitious entities created as a propaganda ploy by 
Hitler's racial theoretician Alfred Rosenberg during World War II. 
The congressional pronouncement also called for, in effect, the 
dismemberment of the USSR through “freeing” the Ukraine, 
Georgia, and Belorussia from Soviet captivity. The resolution was 



272 BLOWBACK 


“churned out” of Congress, according to a columnist of the day, 
“along with casual holiday proclamations, such as National Hot Dog 
Month.” 17 

Yet the timing of the proclamation was significant, and it con¬ 
stituted a major victory for hard-line Captive Nations organizers. 
Vice President Richard Nixon—hardly a liberal on the question of 
communism—was then in Moscow on a major Republican effort to 
improve East-West communication and stabilize the nuclear arms 
race. Soviet Premier Khrushchev took exception to the unani¬ 
mously passed congressional statement calling for the disintegra¬ 
tion of his country and used the incident to raise questions about 
American sincerity in the negotiations. Nixon was forced to explain 
and, in effect, apologize for the U.S. Congress, pointing out that 
even President Eisenhower did not control the timing of congres¬ 
sional acts. “Neither the President nor I would have deliberately 
chosen to have a resolution of this type passed,” Nixon said sooth¬ 
ingly, “just before we were to visit the USSR.” 18 The damage, how¬ 
ever, had already been done. 

According to Senator Mathias, the Captive Nations movement 
also succeeded in placing obstructions in the path of Kennedy’s and 
Johnson’s policy of “building bridges” to Eastern Europe, which 
those presidents hoped to use as a means of gradually winning some 
measure of influence in the region. Captive Nations organizers 
spearheaded appeals to broad cold war constituencies in the United 
States to force the cancellation of major trade contracts with Yugo¬ 
slavia, Romania, and Poland that had been approved by Washing¬ 
ton. George Kennan, who had returned to government in 1961 as 
U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia under President Kennedy, remem¬ 
bers how this same ethnic coalition succeeded in pressuring Con¬ 
gress to stop the extension of most favored nation trading status to 
Yugoslavia and then in halting the shipment of obsolete jet fighter 
parts—for which the Yugoslavs had already paid—to that country 
altogether. The CIA-funded ACEN’s role in banning the export of 
the fighter parts is ironic because the agency had itself helped 
arrange the sale of the previous-generation jets to the independent- 
minded Yugoslavs in the first place as a means of splitting that 
country away from Moscow. 19 After the Americans’ promises for 
spare parts had collapsed, Marshal Josip Tito of Yugoslavia went 
back to the USSR for his first reconciliation with the Soviets in 
almost fifteen years. He was met at Moscow’s airport with roses and 
marching bands. 




The End of “Liberation ” 


273 


The Assembly of Captive European Nations, in short, began as 
what must have appeared to be a clever propaganda project, an 
appropriate counterpart to the Crusade for Freedom. In the end, 
however, it became a political force to be reckoned with on the 
American far right. And the radical right, in turn, remains a very 
real force in Washington, D.C. 

These exiled leaders have by no means disappeared, and some 
such groups have won the open support of the Reagan administra¬ 
tion. The Captive Nations activists have been particularly strong in 
the National Republican Heritage Groups (Nationalities) Council, • , 
led by conservative activist Frank D. Stella. 20 This national GOP^v' 
organization embraces several score of conservative ^et hnic org ani- 
zations and state coalitions that tend to identify with the far right 
wing of the party. While the large majority of the organizatlT7nsdTf^^\ n 
the Republican Nationalities Council are thoroughly respectable, it V*' 
is nonetheless true that the council has become fertile ground for 


political organizing by certain former Nazi collaborators still active 




in immigrant communities in this country. 

Perhaps part of the reason for this is that the director of the f( 
council during the early 1970s was Laszlo Pasztor, a naturalized 
American of Hungarian descent who served during the war as a 
junior envoy in Berlin for the genocidal Hungarian Arrow Cross 
regime of Ferenc Szalasi. Pasztor, in an interview with reporter Les 
Whitten, insisted that he did not participate in anti-Semitic activi¬ 
ties during the war. 21 Furthermore, he says, he has attempted to 
weed out extreme-right-wing groups from among the GOP’s eth¬ 


nics. 


But the record of Pasztor’s “housecleaning” leaves much to be 
desired. The GOP national ities council has provided an entr y into, 
t he White Ho use for severat^sell-stvl ec TTmrmgranTle aders with^ 
r ecords a s pro-NazT extremastsT Bulgarian-American Republican 
party notable IvaHnDocheflF, for example, who has served as an 
officer of the Republican party’s ethnic council for years, has ac¬ 
knowledged that he was once a leader in the National Legion of 
Bulgaria, a group that the more moderate Bulgarian National Com¬ 
mittee in the United States has described as “Fascist.” He also spent 
twelve years as chair of the influential New York City Captive 
Nations Committee as well as president of the Bulgarian National 
Front, an extreme rightist emigre organization long active in the 
openly pro-Axis Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). Docheff, 
who describes himself as ‘TOO percent anti-Communist, not a 


274 BLOWBACK 


Nazi,” was once invited to the White House to share a Captive 
Nations 22 prayer breakfast with President Richard Nixon. 

A half dozen other somewhat similar cases among Republican 
ethnics may be readily identified. The official Latvian-American 
organization in the GOP’s nationalities council is the Latvian- 
American Republican National Federation, which was led for years 
by Davmants Hazners (president) and Ivars Berzins (secretary). 
During the 1970s the group shared the same office and telephone 
number in East Brunswick, New Jersey, with the Committee for a 
Free Latvia. The latter group, it will be recalled, was led for most 
of the last decade by the by-now familiar Vilis Hazners (president) 
and Alfreds Berzins (treasurer and secretary) despite accusations 
aired by 60 Minutes and other media that both had been responsi¬ 
ble for serious crimes during the war. Their associate Ivars Berzins 
is most recently noted as a leading proponent of the campaign to 
halt prosecutions of fugitive Nazi war criminals in the United 
States. 23 There is no indication, it should be stressed, that Ivars 
Berzins or the other leaders of the Latvian-American Republican 
party group engaged in any sort of disreputable activity. Even so, 
the intimate ties between these two organizations and their leader¬ 
ships raise legitimate questions concerning what the political 
agenda of the Republican organization may actually be. 

Perhaps most disturbing, the GOP ethnic council has passed reso¬ 
lutions on racial and religious questions sponsored by an openly 
pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic activist in that organization on at least three 
occasions in recent years. The author of those resolutions is worthy 
of note, if only as an indication of the degree of racial extremism 
that the Republican organization has been willing to tolerate in its 
ranks. His name is Nicholas Nazarenko, and he is the self-styled 
leader of the World Federation of Cossack National Liberation 
Movement of Cossackia and the Cossack American Republican Na¬ 
tional Federation, which is a full organizational member of the 
Republicans’ ethnic council. The Republican party’s Cossack orga¬ 
nization describes itself as a “division” of the world federation and 
shares the same leadership, letterhead, and post office box address 
in Blauwelt, New York, as the world federation group. Nazarenko 
has admitted in an interview with the author that he spent much 
of World War II as an interrogator of POWs for the SS in Romania. 24 

Nazarenko’s speech at the 1984 Captive Nations ceremonial din¬ 
ner in New York left little to the imagination about his own point 
of view or that of his audience. He spoke of what was, in his mind, 



The End of “Liberation 


275 


the heroism of the Eastern European collaborators in the German 
legions during the war, and he spoke of why, in his mind, the Nazis 
lost the war. “There is a certain ethnic group that today makes its 
home in Israel,” Nazarenko told the gathering. “This ethnic group 
works with the Communists all the time. They were the Fifth Col¬ 
umn in Germany and in all the Captive Nations. . . . They would 
spy, sabotage and do any act in the interest of Moscow,” he claimed. 
“Of course there had to be the creation of a natural self defense 
against this Fifth Column,” he said, referring to the Nazi concentra¬ 
tion camps. “They had to be isolated. Security was needing [sic], 
[So] the Fifth Column was arrested and imprisoned. 

“This particular ethnic group was responsible for aiding [the] 
Soviet NKVD,” he continued. “A million of our people [were] de¬ 
stroyed as a result of them aiding the NKVD. ... You hear a lot 
about the Jewish Holocaust,” he exclaimed, his yellowed mustache 
quivering, “but what about the 140 million Christians, Moslems and 
Buddhists killed by Communism? That is the real Holocaust, and 
you never hear about it!” 25 The Captive Nations Committee’s 
crowd responded with excited applause in the most enthusiastic 
welcome for any speaker of that evening. 

There is also substantial overlap between the Captive Nations 
Committee, the Republicans’ ethnic council, and a broad variety of 
other well-known right-wing organizations, some of which enjoy 
multimillion-dollar financing and play substantial roles in U.S. elec¬ 
tions. About 15 percent of the organizational members of the 
American Security Council’s Coalition for Peace Through 
Strength—the high-powered lobbying group that led the successful 
campaign to stop SALT II—are these same Captive Nations groups. 
The coalition dispenses hundreds of thousands ofjdollarsj t has ^xg^ 
ceived fro m^major defens^^qSSacEoHIIa^^ ndid atesJjL favors i n 
UJS. congre ssional cam paign s and is generally regarded as one o£ 
the m o s.Le ffecti ve~pi o a r m ament Jo b by grou ps inWashington. At 
least four coalition member organizations still openly supporfthe 
enemy Axis governments of World War II; one is led by Nazarenko, 
who has stated publicly that the Coalition for Peace Through 
Strength has provided him with a mailing list of senior U.S. military 
officers for use in Captive Nations propaganda work. 26 

More important than any organizational connections, however, 
is the manner in which “liberation” thinking has again taken hold 
in Washington, D.C. The Reagan wing of the Republican party has 
historically maintained extremely close ties with the Captive Na- 



276 BLOWBACK 


tions movement. Many top Reagan activists have spent much of 
their lives promoting the liberationist cause, even when the theory 
fell out of fashion after the Hungarian uprising of 1956. 

President Reagan himself bestowed a Medal of Freedom, the 
country’s highest civilian honor, on liberation theorist (and former 
OPC/CIA emigre program consultant) James Burnham in 1983. 
Burnham’s liberation analysis “profoundly affected the way Amer¬ 
ica views itself and the world,” Reagan intoned at the awards cere¬ 
mony. “And I owe him a personal debt,” the president continued, 
“because throughout the years of travelling on the mashed-potato 
circuit I have quoted [him] widely.” 27 

Today the Reagan administration has updated liberationism to 
apply to 1980s crisis points like Angola and Nicaragua. The CIA, 
with the president’s backing, is now spending in excess of $600 
million per year to equip some 80,000 to 100,000 anti-Communist 
“freedom fighters” with arms, supplies, and even state-of-the-art 
Stinger antiaircraft missiles. This renewed cold war strategy, some¬ 
times known as the Reagan Doctrine, has also become a litmus test 
of conservative Republican orthodoxy, writes Washington Post po¬ 
litical analyst Sidney Blumenthal. 28 Right-wing true believers have 
taken to using votes on funding for “freedom fighters” like Angolan 
rebel strongman Jonas Savimbi as a means of extracting concessions 
from Republican moderates and driving their party farther to the 
right. The new liberationistsTsoal, Blumenthal writes, “is to ens ure 
that no ^ ^ub lican^wiKIbfi^nom inaTea for president w ho has not 
pledgeB TeaTly^to their ideology.” “ 

^THe liberation ideal—“permanent counterrevolution,” in Blu- 
menthal’s words, meaning protracted conflict with the USSR, lead¬ 
ing to a final showdown in which communism is wiped from the 
face of the earth—is not simply a “Nazi idea,” nor is it appropriate 
to label people who support it Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. The 
Post’s Blumenthal, for example, attributes many of Burnham’s lib¬ 
erationist theories to Burnham’s flirtation with Trotskyism in the 
1930s. 

But the fact remains that ideas and theories have histories, just 
as nations do. They are the products of particular circumstances 
and junctures in civilization. Burnham’s theories were based on his 
work with exiles during the early years of the American Committee 
for Liberation, Radio Liberation from Bolshevism, and similar pro¬ 
jects that enlisted numerous Nazi collaborators among that genera¬ 
tion of “freedom fighters.” Burnham speaks highly of Germany’s 



The End of “Liberation” 


277 


political warfare in Belorussia and the Ukraine; it was only Hitler’s 
later blunders that made its eastern front policy a mistake, he writes 
in Containment or Revolution . 29 The true origins of liberationism 
as a coherent philosophy lie in Nazi Germany and in the Nazis’ 
political warfare campaign on the eastern front, nowhere else. 

Today liberation activists often have a reasonably sophisticated 
political agenda and enough clout to arrange annual Captive Na¬ 
tions commemorations hosted directly by the president or vice 
president of the United States. 30 Their political stands are not en¬ 
tirely unreasonable: Most Captive Nations activists are strong sup¬ 
porters of improved human rights inside the Soviet bloc, for exam¬ 
ple, although their record on civil rights inside the United States is 
somewhat less exemplary. The one position they cling to above all, 
however, is an implacable paranoia toward the USSR that would 
permit no arms control treaties, no trade and indeed no East-West 
cooperation of any type, only relentless preparation for war. ^ J 

The scars that secret emigre anti-Communist programs have left 
on life in the United States run considerably deeper than the contri¬ 
bution they may have made to the early 1950s purge of former 
Voice of America Director Charles Thayer or to the escape of cer¬ 
tain Nazis from justice. The cold war itself— and , indirectly, much! 
t hat has flo wed fro m it—should be reconsidered today in the light 
of what^isHBeginnihg^o be known of clandestine activities duringj 
that period. 

Many, though obviously not all, U.S. covert operations of the 
period involved use of Nazi collaborators, and it is that aspect of 
American secret warfare that has been the focus of attention here. 
The basic rationale for using Nazis in covert operations has consis¬ 
tently been that doing so was of practical value to the United States 
in international relations, that it was putting “future American 
interests” ahead of the “delights of revenge.” In reality, however, 
t hese affairs have, work ed to t he long-te rm—an d frequently the 
s hortTe rm —detriment oTTKe^tJ^ed^ StatesT^TFe negative blow- 
back frohTT^ operatloris^Trrpldyuig Nazis and collaborators may 
be generally grouped into six categories. The first of these, chrono¬ 
logically speaking, stems from the intense West-East competition 
over recruitment of German scientists and secret agents. The fight 
over these intelligence assets played a surprisingly large role in the 
rapid erosion of trust between the superpowers, especially in the 
first months after the defeat of Hitler Germany. 



278 BLOWBACK 


The mistrust engendered during this race proved to be an impor¬ 
tant factor in undermining the possibility of superpower peace as 
early as the Potsdam Conference of July 1945. 31 Both sides at Pots¬ 
dam read the clandestine campaigns of the other as the “true” 
policy behind the veils of diplomacy. Yet both also insisted that 
their own diplomatic initiatives be taken at face value. One practi¬ 
cal result of this semiotic clash was an acceleration of the upward 
spiral of suspicion, hostility, and fear. 

The second major type of damaging blowback has been the de¬ 
structive effect that Western covert operations and political war¬ 
fare—particularly programs employing Nazi collaborators—has 
had on provoking the cold war and later crises in East-West rela¬ 
tions. These affairs were not only products of the cold war but also 
catalysts that escalated the conflict. They offer graphic proof that 
the United States’ struggle against the USSR began considerably 
earlier and was carrierL ont with far more violen ce than the Western 
public was led to believe at the time. 

The U.S. “national security state,” as it has since come to be 
termed, established itself very quickly in the wake of the showdown 
at Potsdam. Before three years had passed, the emerging intelli¬ 
gence community had begun undertaking small- and medium-scale 
campaigns using former Nazis and Axis collaborators as operatives 
in the attempted coup d’etat in Romania ^ the subversion of elec¬ 
tions in Greec e jmd Italy , and attempts to manipulate favored polit¬ 
ical parties throughout the Soviet-occupied zone of Eastern 
Europe. One can well imagine what the USSR’s interpretation of 
these U.S. initiatives was at the time, considering the Marxist- 
Leninist dictum that th e Unit edjta tes is inh erently imperialist in 
character. 

The liberal anti-Communist consensus of the day in the West saw 
covert operations as a viable “national security” option that was 
short of open warfare. Such tactics were supposed to be a relatively 
enlightened and effective means of advancing American interests 
at the expense of their Soviet rival. George Kennan, Charles 
Thayer, Brigadier General John Magruder, and other theoreticians 
of clandestine political warfare contended that the relatively suc¬ 
cessful experience that the United States had enjoyed in sponsoring 
an anti-Nazi underground during wartime could be selectively ap¬ 
plied to the harassment, “containment,” and perhaps the over¬ 
throw of the postwar pro-Soviet states in the East. 32 

There was a fundamental difference between the United States’ 



279 


The End of “Liberation” 

wartime experience, however, and the postwar practice of at¬ 
tempting to bankroll alliances between Eastern European center 
parties and the remnants of the Axis power structure that still held 
on in the Soviet-occupied zone. In many cases, the U.S.-backed 
factions lacked either the moral authority or the simple compe¬ 
tence to rule, particularly in the face of Soviet hostility. But instead 
of urging its proxies to cooperate as junior partners in the early 
postwar coalition governments dominated by Communists—and 
thereby to stabilize the situation in Eastern Europe with some 
measure of democracy, however imperfect—the United States en¬ 
couraged its sympathizers to attempt to seize total power (as in the 
Romanian coup of 1947) or, that failing, to use clandestine action 
to disrupt the ability of any other group to govern (as in Poland 
from 1946 to 1951). 33 Captivated by a vision of the world in which 
any enemy of the Communists was a friend of ours, the United 
States’ public role in Eastern Europe during the cold war consisted 
in large part of the creation of polarized crises in which East-West 
cooperation became impossible, while the clandestine counterpart 
to this same policy often created secret alliances with war criminals, 
Nazis, and extremists. It is clear from the secrecy that surrounded 
these alliances that many U.S. national security experts recognized 
at the time such tactics as reprehensible. However necessary such 
tactics may have seemed in the 1940s and 1950s, in retrospect this 
policy has proved to have been an ineffective way to deal with 
Eastern Europe, one which some subsequent U.S. administrations 
have spent considerable effort trying to correct. 

The results of the clandestine policy have set back, not advanced, 
American efforts to win friends in Eastern Europe, lessen repres¬ 
sion, and improve civil liberties in the region. The American spon¬ 
sorship of Gehlen and other collaborators may have remained 
largely secret in the United States, but it became a long-running 
theme in pro-Soviet Eastern European publicity, precisely because 
such practices tended to discredit America. The hypocrisy of U.S. 
actions and the CIA’s not-so-secret encouragement of disgraced 
Axis collaborators tended to undermine Eastern European public 
understanding of Western-style norms and civil liberties, which had 
never been a strong tradition in the region in the first place. Fur¬ 
thermore, exposure of U.S.-backed campaigns of this type tended 
to provide satellite states with convenient and surprisingly credible 
outside scapegoats for the failures of their own governments, espe¬ 
cially during the years of extreme economic problems in the imme- 



280 BLOWBACK 


diate aftermath of the war. In many cases—Romania, Poland, and 
the Ukraine—clandestine campaigns by U.S. intelligence may have 
ended up actually strengthening the pro-Soviet regimes they were 
intended to subvert. 

Even some of the “success stories” of the postwar Nazi campaigns 
have rebounded in unpleasant ways for the United States. In 
Greece the United States backed the reintegration of wartime Nazi 
collaborators into that country’s police agencies as a means of 
fighting an insurgency, and the strategy did indeed succeed in 
placing political parties favorable to the United States in power 
there. At the same time, however, leaders of the CIA-trained 
and-supported police agency KYP—many with records of Nazi 
criminality—became the center of a long string of extremist plots, 
coup attempts, and brutality that eventually culminated in the im¬ 
position of neo-Fascist rule in that country under Colonel George 
Papadopoulos from 1967 to 1974. 34 The role of Americ an mul tina > 
tional corporations a nd t he CIA in tHeT^apadopoulos coup of 19_67» 

conHnueJttrundemiineU. S^^^e^Tel^omJoTKFd^T^ 

"^e^piteTHeTj^onstraBIenack ofsuccess of these clandestine 
tactics in Europe, especially those involving rehabilitated Nazi col¬ 
laborators, the United States has expanded and intensified similar 
emigre subversion programs all over the world during the past 
three decades. Instead of being discarded, the early emigre opera¬ 
tions employing Waffen SS veterans have become a model for thou¬ 
sands of other U.S. clandestine operations. The CIA’s present tech¬ 
niques for virtually every type of covert operation from black 
propaganda to murder were first formulated during the agency’s 
work with the Eastern European collaborationist troops it inherited 
from the Nazis. True, some types of psychological strategies are as 
old as warfare itself, and other modern clandestine techniques may 
be traced to British, German, or Soviet programs initiated during 
the 1920s and 1930s. The first systematic use of assassinations, coups 
d’etat, ratlines, and subversion began for Americans, though, while 
working with Axis assets in the wake of World War II. The National 
Security Council’s pivotal NSC 10/2 and later NSC 5412 decisions— 
the rationales for both of which were intimately tied up with the 
enlistment of Waffen SS veterans and anti-Communist irregulars 
left over from the war—have proved to be the foundation upon 
which more than three decades of multibillion-dollar clandestine 
activities have been built. The present-day U.S. sponsorship of the 
Nicaraguan contras, including the well-publicized CIA training of 



281 


The End of “Liberation” 

contras in the assassination of medical workers, schoolteachers, and 
civilian officials, 35 are in many respects a replay of tactics that were 
tested—and failed—in the Ukraine more than thirty years ago. 

The third major type of blowback is insidious and subtle. Former 
Axis intelligence analysts enlisted by the U.S. Army and the CIA 
consistently reinforced the existing self-deception among U.S. na¬ 
tional security experts concerning the USSR, particularly during 
the first formative years of the cold war and the emerging U.S. 
national security apparatus. Examples may be readily identified 
today in spite of the extreme security measures that still surround 
the internal intelligence evaluation processes of those years. These 
include very basic errors that range from misappraisal of the size 
and war readiness of the USSR’s military establishment to funda¬ 
mental misjudgments about Soviet political intentions in both 
Western and Eastern Europe. 

The information-gathering and analysis divisions of intelligence 
agenciesj-ir e inten sely political o rganiza tions. Instead of theTHeaTof 
dispassionate, accurate evaluation of fact si what one actually en¬ 
counters inside such groups is a sharply competitive business in 
which final reports are often shaped as much by the policies of the 
administration in power as they are by the underlying reality of any 
given situation. Bureaucratic infighting and even domestic partisan 
debates play a very substantial role in the creation of intelligence 
analyses. 36 During the cold war years the CIA and army intelli¬ 
gence often selectively enlisted those persons abroad who 
confirmed those agencies’ vision of what U.S. strategy in Europe 
should be. At the same time they purged other analysts, including 
highly trained Americans of impeccable reputations, who chal¬ 
lenged those assumptions. These personnel decisions seem to have 
been motivated primarily by a desire for institutional orthodoxy, 
not by the actuality of Soviet behavior of the day. 

Information and analysis that reinforced the dominant precon¬ 
ceptions of the day almost always received a far more sympathetic 
reception in Washington than news that ran counter to those be¬ 
liefs. Thus General Clay’s (and Gehlen’s) alarms about the Red 
Army in early 1948 counted for more in U.S. national security 
circles than the reality that the USSR had significantly reduced its 
troop strength in Europe, in large part because Clay’s war scare 
confirmed the American leaders’ worst suspicions concerning the 
USSR. 

Entrepreneurs such as General Gehlen, John Valentine Grom- 



282 BLOWBACK 


bach, and their various rivals have historically been able to manipu¬ 
late this situation to their own advantage, sometimes for years at a 
time. Gehlen, above all, proved to be the master at playing to the 
audience of American national security experts. By shaping the 
data that shaped global decisions, he played an indirect yet substan¬ 
tial role in world events. His support for a relentlessly hostile cold 
war against the USSR, together with the success he enjoyed in 
undermining his critics, has left a durable mark on European his¬ 
tory. 37 

The fourth important type of blowback is the 1 ()ng-1epnx o i : r u p t- 
ing influence that financing the work of men like Alois Brunner, 
KIaiIs~Barbie, Stanislaw Stankievich, and others has had on the 
American intelligence agencies themselves. TJie_coiTOsiy.e-effec^of 
recrui ting c riminals, merc enaries, and torturers as CIA c ontra ct 
opera tivesexfehds~well beyond the impact ot any sin g le incide nt 
or operation^in which such persons may become involved. TRfe 
internal logi^of clandestine agenaeFdemands that the organiza¬ 
tion protect its former agents long after their usefulness has 
passed—or at least to “dispose” of such agents properly, as it is 
termed in intelligence jargon—in order to retain their loyalty to the 
institution as long as possible. This can produce compromising per¬ 
sonnel problems that last for years, even for decades. 

The CIA has historically dealt with its disposal problem by quietly 
resettling its former contract agents in South America, Canada, or 
Australia. It has also brought a smaller number of operators to the 
United States, official reports have finally admitted. (Traitors and 
suspected double agents present a special sort of disposal problem, 
of course. Congressional testimony and fragmentary CIA records 
now in the public domain suggest that some such persons have been 
murd ered.) 38 

'“TTngoing agent disposal programs create a strong incentive for 
the government to continue protecting retired Nazis or other 
criminals for years after their supposed usefulness to this country 
has expired. The CIA’s present determination to protect its agent 
disposal system remains one of the single greatest obstacles to ex¬ 
pulsion of known Nazi criminals hiding in the United States. 

As late as 1976 the agency’s practices in this regard were still so 
blatant that the CIA actually wrote an unclassified letter to a former 
CIA contract agent, Edgars Laipenieks, who was then facing depor¬ 
tation from the United States in connection with allegations that he 
had committed multiple murders, torture, and other crimes against 



283 


The End of “Liberation ” 

humanity at the Central Prison in Riga, Latvia, during the war. “We 
have been corresponding with the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service about your status,” agency spokesman Charles Savage 
wrote to Laipenieks on official CIA letterhead. “It is our under¬ 
standing that INS has advised their San Diego office to cease any 
action against you. If this does not prove [to be] the case, please let 
us know immediately. Thank you once again for . . . your past 
assistance to the Agency. Sincerely,” etc. 39 

Laipenieks, as it turned out, made the CIA’s letter public during 
his legal defense, and caused something of an uproar, for obvious 
reasons. Since that time the agency has been more cautious about 
what it sends out to disposed agents with questionable back¬ 
grounds. The practice of tacitly protecting them continues, how¬ 
ever, and remains a factor in several cases of Nazi criminals still 
living in the United States. 

The reverse side of this particular type of blowback is the intrin¬ 
sic weakness, from a strictly practical point of view, of the networks 
of contract agents who had been compromised by their service to 
Hitler during the war. As was seen in the case of Heinz Felfe inside 
the Gehlen Organization, the tight, often cultlike relationships 
among Nazi veterans actually provided a relatively easy means for 
Soviet agents to penetrate U.S.-sponsored espionage operations. 

Intelligence agencies of both East and West have effectively ob¬ 
structed prosecution of Nazi criminals on a far broader scale than 
simply the handful of cases cited above. To put it simply, espionage 
organizations have long found it more profitable to use the evi¬ 
dence of criminality that has come into their hands as a means of 
blackmailing or suborning former Nazis (or any other compromised 
persons) into cooperating with intelligence operations rather than 
bring such persons to trial in an open forum. In case after case, 
America’s—and the world’s—long-term interest in advancing social 
justice has been subordinated to short-term espionage gains. The 
full extent of this practice will probably never be known. The suc¬ 
cessful execution of this sort of blackmail, it is important to remem¬ 
ber, requires continuing the cover-up of an individual’s criminal 
past, if only to ensure that the espionage agency can come back for 
another “bite.” But the recent revelations of alleged blackmail of 
United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim using charges of 
wartime crimes against humanity is one more indication that this 
type of extortion of ex-Nazis for intelligence purposes has reached 
far more deeply into European life than is generally known. 40 



284 BLOWBACK 


The fifth and perhaps the most damaging type of blowbaek from 
the emigre and Waffen SS utilization programs stems from the 
CIA's l arge-scale interv ention in dom estic j^merigan polidcs^during 
the J j)50s . These operations became important elements in the 
complex process through which U.S. intelligence agencies sys¬ 
tematically nurtured persons viewed as useful, while attempting to 
suppress those deemed dangerous. 

The CIA was presumably motivated by a desire to achieve U.S. 
foreign policy objectives when it promoted the careers of Eastern 
European liberation activists inside the United States. Foreign 
affairs, after all, are the CIA's assigned sphere of operations. But the 
agency’s liberation campaigns were never confined to overseas op¬ 
erations or even to immigrant communities in this country. Instead, 
they became a component of the agency’s larger domestic political 
agenda. The CIA combined the emigres’ liberation efforts with 
other agency programs of even larger scope, such as the manipula.- 
t ion ^fm^imtream U.S. media, direct propaganda broadcasting in 
this country througEthe~l^fusade for Freedom and other CIA- 
financed radio shows, su rveill ance and harassment of opponents, 
careful sculpting of academic ancTschoIaff^ 

gressiveToBB^mg on Capitol Hffira^d^ Bnetration of the senior 
1 ejadexship jaf tm3eTTnfons, corporations, religious^grci^^ 
student organizations. 41 

T^nylieEaiir of "the CIA’s domestic campaigns have gradually 
leaked into the public domain over the last decade. The synergistic 
effect that this enormous effort produced on life in this country is 
still not adequately understood, however, and may not be for many 
years. The fact is that the CIA’s domestic operations had a substan¬ 
tial and lasting impact on political debate in this country during the 
cold war years, most important of all on foreign policy issues. The 
agency played a powerful role in setting the general parameters of 
the foreign policy debate in the United States throughout those 
years and in drawing the lines that separated “respectable” opin¬ 
ions from those considered beyond the pale. 

America’s large Eastern European immigrant population was 
particularly vulnerable to this process. The renewed liberation poli¬ 
tics hammered out by compromised exile politicians in the wake of 
World War II became the only acceptable point of view in many 
immigrant communities in the 1950s; those with different perspec¬ 
tives learned that it was safer to hold their tongues. 42 

Ironically, even the anti-Communist exiles most favored for their 



The End of “Liberation ” 


285 


usefulness by the CIA also suffered, though to a lesser degree. Re¬ 
gardless of the rhetoric of the day, the secret councils of the U.S. 
government never actually determined to liberate any Eastern 
European territory, at least not if doing so required substantial risks 
or sacrifices on the part of the United States. The exiled nationalist, 
foot soldiers became mere pawns in the superpower contention 
over Europe, inexpensive agents whose lives were expended as 
though they were dollar bills that could be bet and lost without any 
great consequence to the men who formulated the grand strategies^ 

The final major type of blowback is the role that these clandestine 
operations played in the obstruction of justice. U.S. courts assert 
that they have no jurisdiction to try persons accused of committing 
Nazi war crimes or crimes against humanity, in large part because 
the offenses took place in foreign countries and generally did not 
directly involve U.S. citizens. Therefore, the present U.S. govern¬ 
ment Nazi hunters who work for the Justice Department’s Office 
of Special Investigations (OSI) are limited to bringing charges 
against war criminals in this country for violations of U.S. immigra¬ 
tion law—not for murder, looting, or other persecution. If the pros¬ 
ecution is successful, the Nazi criminal is expelled from this coun¬ 
try. 43 

Although the OSI is loath to admit it, the fact is that its attorneys 
often have difficulty with war crimes suspects who plead the “CIA 
defense” in response to OSI charges. Former Nazis and collabora¬ 
tors who once worked for U.S. intelligence agencies are arguing in 
court that they disclosed their wartime activities, SS membership, 
or other compromising evidence to their CIA or army controllers 
back during the cold war. In so doing, defense lawyers claim, their 
clients satisfied any legal requirement to acknowledge their pasts 
to the U.S. government during immigration. Therefore, the lawyers 
say, they cannot be deported today. 44 

In other instances, persons whom some have accused of crimes 
against humanity like Mykola Lebed are unlikely to be brought to 
trial in the first place because their immigration to the United 
States was legally sponsored under the 100 Persons section of the 
1949 CIA charter. Similarly, some ex-SS men insist that they en¬ 
tered the country under the Displaced Persons Act waiver for Bal¬ 
tic SS veterans engineered by Displaced Persons Commissioner 
O’Connor back in 1951. Their U.S. citizenships are perfectly legal 
despite their SS backgrounds, they say. 45 

Court rulings on such arguments have been mixed. Tscherim 



286 BLOWBACK 


Soobzokov, a onetime Waffen SS and police battalion activist sus¬ 
pected of multiple murders, succeeded in forcing the OSI to drop 
its deportation case against him when he proved at the eleventh 
hour that he had in fact disclosed his work for the SS to the CIA 
prior to his immigration to this country. 46 The agency also inter¬ 
vened in the case of Otto von Bolschwing, the career SS and SD 
veteran who had once helped organize the Bucharest pogrom, and 
helped engineer a settlement under which the gravely ill von 
Bolschwing was forced to give up his U.S. citizenship yet permitted 
to remain in the country until his death. 47 Edgars Laipenieks, the 
one who received the written endorsement from the CIA’s spokes¬ 
man, having successfully resisted earlier deportation attempts, re¬ 
mains comfortably in the United States as this book goes to press, 
more than ten years after the agency’s letter. Court decisions are 
pending concerning CIA defense claims by several other former 
Nazis. 48 

At the same time a second maneuver, known among war crimes 
attorneys as the “KGB defense,” has become the single most popu¬ 
lar plea on behalf of the Nazi criminals facing deportation from the 
United States today. In a replay of the same cold war arguments 
that brought many Nazi collaborators to the United States in the 
first place, lawyers for accused collaborators are arguing that the 
Soviet KGB, now supposedly working with the tacit cooperation of 
the U.S. Justice Department, is manufacturing documentary evi¬ 
dence against their clients for political reasons. The Soviets, they 
say, are really the ones who are behind the evidence that Nazi 
criminals are hiding in America, and the U.S. Justice Department 
has somehow been taken in by their scheme. Many Americans feel 
a deep antipathy toward the USSR and believe the KGB forgery 
stories just might be true. 

The records the defense lawyers are attempting to suppress 
through the “forgery” claims include captured SS identification 
cards, for example, and Axis police reports that establish that cer¬ 
tain Nazi collaborators had been leaders of genocidal organizations, 
or that they participated in massacres and other crimes against 
humanity. Considering the passage of time since the Holocaust took 
place, these records are often essential to building solid cases 
against Nazi criminals. 

In case after case the defense claim that the Soviets have falsified 
evidence on behalf of the U.S. Justice Department has itself proved 
to be false. “When the Red Army advanced westward across Poland 



The End of Liberation” 


287 


in 1944 it captured massive quantities of German personnel files,” 
U.S. Justice Department attorney Eli Rosenbaum pointed out in the 
case against Liudas Kairys, a Waffen SS veteran who is facing depor¬ 
tation from this country in connection with his role in atrocities at 
Lublin, Poland, and at the Treblinka labor camp. “The Soviet gov¬ 
ernment has routinely made such files available for war crimes trials 
in West Germany for many years. None have ever been shown to 
be—or even seriously suspected of being—forgeries.” Such records 
have been introduced by U.S. prosecutors in many deportation 
proceedings against Nazi collaborators, he continued, and “in all 
cases these documents have been admitted in evidence.” 49 None of 
the claims of forged evidence has ever stood up in a U.S. court 
despite the fact that all questioned evidence is routinely made 
available to defense attorneys and trained document examiners in 
order to test its authenticity. 

The failure of these claims in the courts notwithstanding, the 
proponents of KGB/U.S. Justice Department conspiracy theories 
have undertaken a major publicity campaign playing on the 
“forged evidence” theme, and having as its object the abolition of 
the U.S. government’s Office of Special Investigations, which inves¬ 
tigates and prosecutes Nazi criminals in America. As documented 
in a recent study by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 50 
this anti-OSI campaign frequently has a distinctly anti-Semitic tone. 
Dr. Edward Rubel, a board member of the same New York-based 
Captive Nations Committee discussed previously, is a leading 
spokesman for the effort. Stalin’s Russia was “exclusively ruled by 
Marxist Zionist Jews as a ruling class,” Rubel argued in a recent 
letter to U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. Now, he continued, 
a “Jewish Zionist pressure group in Washington speaks through the 
OSI for the U.S. Government.” Rubel went on to demand that “the 
‘Holocaust’ propaganda” be “clear[ed] up once and for all” and that 
the OSI be abolished for its supposed collusion with the KGB. 51 

Rubel’s views are extreme, but he is by no means alone. Reveal- 
ingly, many of the same leaders of the old “liberationist” political 
coalition have resurfaced in the present campaign to end prosecu¬ 
tion of Nazis in America. Prominent among them is former White 
House Communications Director Patri ck Buchanan , who has pub¬ 
licly characterized the U.S. Justice^Department’s prosecution of 
Treblinka death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk as “an official lynch¬ 
ing, choreographed by the KGB.” 52 



288 BLOWBACK 


❖ ❖ ❖ 

In the final analysis, the cold war became the means for tens of 
thousands of Nazi criminals to avoid responsibility for the murders 
they had committed. The breakdown of East-West cooperation in 
the prosecution of war criminals—motivated, again, in part by the 
short-term interests of the intelligence agencies of both sides in 
protecting their clandestine operations assets—provided both the 
means for criminals to escape to the West and the alibis for them 
to use once they arrived here. “Nazi cri minals^ ” as Simon Wiesen- 
thal has commented, “were the pTmcipalbeneficiaries of the Cold 

War.” 53 *--------- 

"^Nlost of the American officials originally involved in the articula¬ 
tion of “liberation” during the 1950s or who played roles in Opera¬ 
tion Bloodstone and other programs employing Nazi collaborators 
have long since died or retired. OPC consultant James Burnham 
suffered a stroke several years ago and is now hospitalized in Balti¬ 
more. Others, like W. Park Armstrong, Edward M. O’Connor, Rob¬ 
ert Joyce, and Robert Lovett, died while this book was in prepara¬ 
tion. Evron Kirkpatrick, who once ran the State Department’s 
external research program, is today ensconced at the American 
En^ergrEeJnstitute. John Grombach died in 1983; his archrival in 
CIA internal factional fighting, Lyman Kirkpatrick, is in Mid- 
dleburg, Virginia, writing a history of the American presidency. 54 

Frank Wisner, the chief of U.S. covert operations throughout the 
cold war and the driving force behind most of the Nazi utilization 
operations, began to come unglued at about the time that “libera¬ 
tion” met its Waterloo in Hungary. Wisner worked and drank like 
a trooper throughout his career, and by late 1956 he was over¬ 
weight, addicted to alcohol, and given to episodes of severe para¬ 
noia and depression. The November 1956 revolt proved to be his 
breaking point. “That’s when he first went nuts,” says agency vet¬ 
eran Tom Braden. “Frank may have gone nuts partly because here 
was this Hungarian thing and we weren’t doing anything about 
it. . . . [T]his was the first time he broke down, and it came about 
because we didn’t do anything.” 55 

Wisner’s emotional distress was compounded by a serious physi¬ 
cal illness. Shortly after the abortive rebellion he picked up a case 
of hepatitis and suffered profound collapse and a temperature of up 
to 106 degrees for days at a time. He began to have hysterical 



The End of “Liberation” 289 

episodes in which he screamed at his CIA colleagues that they were 
“a bunch of Commies.” 56 

Wisner partially recovered in early 1957 and returned to work as 
CIA deputy director in charge of clandestine action. His doctors 
gave him the usual warnings about getting plenty of rest and giving 
up alcohol; but the pace of CIA covert operations actually ac¬ 
celerated during this period, and Wisner remained a nightly fixture 
on Washington’s fashionable social circuits. In August 1958 Frank 
Wisner broke down completely and was dragged screaming from 
CIA headquarters. His colleagues watched in horrified fascination 
as he shouted and struggled with the muscular hospital attendants 
in white coats. He underwent six months of electroshock treatment 
and emerged from the experience a deeply shaken, shattered man. 

CIA Director Dulles gave Wisner a largely titular post as chief of 
station in London, but even a figurehead’s job proved to be beyond 
him. Wisner returned to Washington after a few months at the 
London office, then retired altogether. His physical condition stabil¬ 
ized briefly, then began slipping again with the onset of hernia 
problems, liver ailments, and the gradual toll of age. 

His depression returned with a vengeance. In October 1965 
Frank Wisner blew off the top of his head with a twenty-gauge 
shotgun. 57 

The former Voice of America Director Charles Thayer died on 
the operating table in the midst of heart surgery in 1969. He was 
only fifty-nine. Thayer had, as he hoped, become a writer after he 
was hounded out of government, authoring a biography of his 
mother, a polemic in support of guerrilla warfare, and several books 
on U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-German relations. 58 

And George Kennan keeps on. Now well over eighty, he main¬ 
tains a remarkably rigorous schedule of public speaking and writ¬ 
ing, a neatly cultivated mustache, and a reputation as a senior 
statesman. He lectures at length on a multitude of subjects without 
notes, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling rather than at his audience. 

He considers himself “a strange mixture of a reactionary and a 
liberal,” as he put it recently, and favors decidedly hierarchical 
governments run by an enlightened few regardless of the shifting 
currents of mass public opinion. Democracy, he once quipped, 
should be compared to “one of those prehistoric monsters with a 
body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin.” He views 
the political left with undisguised contempt and presents the long 



290 BLOWBACK 


dictatorship of Portuguese strongman Antonio Salazar as a model 
of governmental efficiency. 59 

Yet Kennan is today one of the few men of his station who have 
had the courage to take public issue with the Reagan administra¬ 
tion’s efforts to renew the cold war in the 1980s. The present 
American military establishment, he wrote recently, operates on 
the “assumption not just of the possibility of a Soviet-American war 
but of its overwhelming probability and even imminence.” He 
blames the present administration, together with the media, for 
creating an “image of the Soviet opponent in his most terrible, 
desperate and inhuman aspect: an implacable monster, incapable 
of impulses other than the lust for sheer destruction, and to be dealt 
with only in a final military struggle.” What much of the U.S. gov¬ 
ernment and journalistic establishment says today about the USSR 
is “so extreme, so subjective, so far removed from what any sober 
scrutiny of external reality would reveal that it is not only ineffec¬ 
tive but dangerous as a guide to political action.” He fears, he says, 
“the cards today are lined up for a war.” 60 

That situation may be traced in part to Kennan’s own role in the 
CIA-sponsored anti-Communist exile programs of the 1940s and 
1950s, including those that employed Nazi collaborators. True, the 
problems of the U.S.-Soviet confrontation are far deeper than any 
clandestine program. But there are moments in history when small 
events clarify much bigger patterns, and such is the case with the 
CIA’s enlistment of Nazis during the 1940s and 1950s. 

Here one sees the extent of the corruption of A meri can ideals 
that has taken placeliTBieTiame^FTIglTtihg communism. No omy 
it seems, not even Adolf Eichmann’s personal staff, was too tainted 
to be rejected by the CIA’s recruiters, at least as long as his relation¬ 
ship with the U.S. government could be kept secret. 

The American people deserve better from their government. 
There is nothing to be gained by permitting U.S. intelligence agen¬ 
cies to continue to conceal the true scope of their association with 
Nazi criminals in the wake of World War II. The files must be 
opened; the record must be set right. 



Source Notes 


Author’s note: All source material listed here is now declassified and in the public 
domain. The security classifications appearing after certain citations (e.g., “secret,” 
“top secret,” etc.) are references to the original security status of the document 
prior to its declassification. The abbreviations RG and NA used in the source notes 
that follow refer to Record Group and National Archives. 

Prologue 

1. Interview with Allan Ryan, April 18, 1985. For description of events in this 
section, see author’s notes on August 16, 1983, press conference. 

2. For Ryan’s report, see: Allan Ryan, Klaus Barbie and the United States Gov¬ 
ernment (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), herein¬ 
after cited as Ryan, Barbie Report , and Klaus Barbie and the United States 
Government, Exhibits to the Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1983), hereinafter cited as Ryan, Barbie Exhibits. For quotes 
from Ryan statements at press conference, see author’s notes of the event and 
Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 212. For UPI quote, see Barbara Rosewicz, “Prober: 
Barbie the Exception, Not Rule,” UPI ticker, August 17, 1983; for Nightline 
quotes, see Nightline broadcast, August 16, 1983, author’s notes. See also “No 
Minor Cases for U.S. Nazi Hunter,” New York Times, July 16, 1983, p. 4. 

3. Von Bolschwing gave the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations an 
account of his work for U.S. intelligence in connection with a 1970 application 
for a military security clearance, which he needed because the company he 
then headed had landed a classified air force contract involving computerized 
interpretation of surveillance satellite data. The Air Force Office of Special 
Investigations is not to be confused with the Department of Justice’s Office of 
Special Investigations, with which von Bolschwing also had dealings about a 
decade later. For the air force records, see U.S. Air Force, Otto Albrecht 
Alfred von Bolschwing, “Statement of Civilian Suspect,” Form 1168a, Decem¬ 
ber 22, 1970 (secret), and Otto Albrecht Alfred von Bolschwing, “Report of 
Investigation,” Form OSI 6, file HQD74(32)-2424/2, September 25, 1970 
(secret). For more easily available accounts, see Pete Carey, “Ex-Nazi’s Bril¬ 
liant U.S. Career Strangled in a Web of Lies,” San Jose (California) Mercury 
News, November 20, 1981; the author’s “Not Just Another Nazi,” Penthouse 


291 



292 Source Notes 


(August 1983), and Allan Ryan, Quiet Neighbors (New York: Harcourt Brace 
Jovanovich, 1984), pp. 218-45; hereinafter cited as Ryan, Quiet Neighbors . 
Von Bolschwing’s case is discussed in more detail in Chapter Sixteen. 

4. On Verbelen affair, see Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith press state¬ 
ment of December 20, 1983; Reuters dispatch, “Belgian Ex-Nazi Admits 
Working for U.S. Intelligence After 1945/’ New York Times , December 23, 
1983, p. 7; and Ralph Blumenthal, “New Case of Nazi Criminal Used as Spy 
by U.S. Is Under Study,” New York Times , January 9, 1984. Sanitized original 
documentation concerning Verbelen and Rudolph was released by the U.S. 
Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), Fort Meade, Md., in 
1984 following Freedom of Information Act requests. On Verbelen, see Dossi¬ 
ers No. AE 502201 and H 8198901, plus accompanying cables; on Rudolph, see 
INSCOM Dossier No. AE 529655; these records have varying original classifi¬ 
cation ratings from “confidential” to “top secret.” On Blome and Rudolph 
affairs, see also Linda Hunt, “U.S. Coverup of Nazi Scientists,” Bulletin of the 
Atomic Scientists (April 1985), pp. 16ff. 

5. For “pragmatic” quote, see Ryan, Barbie Report , pp. 193-94. For Barbie 
CROWCASS, see Ryan, Barbie Exhibits , Tab 19. A sanitized version of Bar¬ 
bie’s CIC dossier is available in the Exhibits. 


Chapter One 

1. On religious attitudes toward communism, see, for example, Divini Redemp- 
toris (often referred to as “On Atheistic Communism”), encyclical letter of 
Pope Pius XI (1937), and Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of 
the West (1948). For more extended treatments of the complex development 
of the Catholic Church’s perception of communism, see Hansjakob Stehle, 
Eastern Politics of the Vatican 1917-1979 tr. Sandra Smith (Athens, Ohio: 
|Ohio University Press, 1981), Wilfried Daim, Der Vatikan und der Osten 
!(Vienna: Europa-Verlag), and John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and 

( \Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman (New York: Times Books, 1984). 

2. On “underground resistance movements,” see NSC 10/2, “Office of Special 
Projects,” June 18, 1948 (top secret), RG 273, NA, Washington, D.C. The 
designator “NSC 10/2” is used to identify National Security Council decision 
documents in series in this archival record group. 

3. The jned ia’irqje.in the transformation of former Nazi collaborators into anti- 
Communist “freedom fighters” is discussed in Chapters Twelve, Fourteen, 
and Fifteen. For an example of this process, see Wallace Carroll, “It Takes a 
Russian to Beat a Russian,” Life (December 19, 1949), p. 80ff. 

For archival documentation concerning the close relations between senior 
U.S. media figures and the U.S. intelligence community during the cold war, 
seeJCS 1735/41, “Guidance on Psychological Warfare Matters,” February 20, 
1950; also letter of Major General Charles Bolte to Brigadier General Robert 
A. McClure, July 7, 1949, discussing personnel for psychological warfare pro¬ 
gram and McClure’s reply of July 20, 1949, with enclosure and subsequent 
correspondence, all secret, found in U.S. Army P&O Hot Files 091.412TS 
through 334WSEGTS, Box 10, Entry 154, RG 319, NA, declassified following 
author’s request. General McClure, commander of all U.S. Army psychological 
warfare activities during World War II and much of the cold war, referred to 



Source Notes 293 


C. D ^J ackso n (of Time/Life) and Wi lliam Paley (of CBS) a s “my right and left 
hancls[during World War II]. . . . [They] know more of the policy and opera¬ 
tional side of psychological warfare than any two individuals I know of.” See 
July 12, 1949, correspondence cited in the Hot Files series. 

For a more accessible source on many of the personalities of cold war 
psychological warfare operations, see Sig Mickelson, America's Other Voice: 
The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (New York: Praeger, 1983). 

4. Telegram traffic includes: Berlin to Washington dispatch marked “Personal for 
Kennan,” 862.00/9-2548, September 25, 1948 (top secret); Heidelberg to 
Washington dispatch marked “For Kennan,” 862.00/9-2748, September 27, 
1948 (top secret); Washington to Heidelberg, 862.00/9-2848, September 28, 
1948 (top secret); Heidelberg to Washington, 862.00/9-3048, September 30, 
1948 (top secret), all of which are found in RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. 

5. Hunt, op. cit. The intelligence coordinating center referred to in the text is 
the Pentagon’s Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), which is discussed 
in Chapter Three; for correspondence concerning suppression of records on 
Nazi past of scientists, see JIOA Deputy Director Walter Rozamus letter to 
Intelligence Division, U.S. Army General Staff, November 18, 1947. For Wev 
quote; JIOA Director Bosquet Wev to General S. J. Chamberlin, director of 
intelligence for War Department General Staff (G-2), July 2,1947 (secret), both 
cited in Hunt, op. cit. 

6. E. H. Cookridge (Edward Spiro), Gehlen (New York: Random House, 1971), 
pp. 121-25. 

7. Author’s interview with Victor Marchetti, June 7, 1984. 

8. For discussion of cold war plans for use of Soviet bloc emigres in guerrilla 
operations, including George Kennan’s role, see Joint Strategic Plans Commit¬ 
tee (JSPC), “Proposal for the Establishment of a Guerrilla Warfare School and 
a Guerrilla Warfare Corps” (JSPC 862/3), August 2,1948 (top secret), P&O 352 
TS (Section 1, Case 1), RG 319, NA; Kennan correspondence with General 
Alfred Gruenther, April 27, 1948 (secret) in P&O 091.714 TS (Section 1, Case 
1), RG 319, NA; and JSPC “Joint Outline War Plans for Determination of 
Mobilization Requirements for War Beginning 1 July 1949” (JSPC 891/6), 
September 17, 1948 (top secret), with discussion of Vlasov and psychological 
warfare at Appendix “E,” p. 36, in P&O 370.1 TS (Case 7, Part IA, Sub No. 
13), RG 319, NA. 

On controversy over Waffen SS discussed in footnote, see Eugene Davidson, 
The Trial of the Germans (New York: Macmillan, 1966), pp. 15-17, 553; or 
particularly Kurt Tauber, Beyond Eagle and Swastika (Middletown, Conn.: 
Wesleyan University Press, 1967), vol. I, p. 332ff. 

9. The CIA’s role in propaganda operations in the United States, including those 
employing former Nazi collaborators, is examined in detail in Chapters Four¬ 
teen, Fifteen, and Seventeen. For government records concerning payments 
to emigre leaders, see James R. Price, Radio Free Europe: A Survey and 
Analysis (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service document no. JX 
1710 US B, March 1972), pp. 9-10, and the following correspondence obtained 
through the Freedom of Information Act: Uldis Grava (American Latvian 
Association) to President Richard Nixon, January 4, 1972; Lucius D. Clay 
(Radio Free Europe) to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, October 7, 1971; 



294 Source Notes 


Kissinger’s reply to Clay, November 1, 1971, and attached correspondence, 
Department of State FOIA Case No. 8404249, September 25, 1986. 

10. The spearhead of this publicity campaign was known as the Crusade for Free¬ 
dom, although it also included a number of subordinate efforts detailed in 
Chapter Fifteen. On the CFF, see Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 41 and 53-58; Larry 
Collins, “The Free Europe Committee: American Weapon of the Cold War/’ 
(1975) Carlton University doctoral thesis, Canadian Thesis on Microfilm Serv¬ 
ice, call no. TC 20090, p. 256ff.; and Free Europe Committee, Inc., President's 
Report (New York: 1953). 

11. For staffing of the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN), see Assem¬ 
bly of Captive European Nations, First Session: Organization, Resolutions, 
Reports, Debate (New York: ACEN publication No. 5, 1955), p. 177ff. Note 
roles of Hasan Dosti (p. 180), Alfreds Berzins (p. 183), and Boleslavs Maikovskis 
(p. 186). For information concerning wartime role of these individuals, see 
Ralph Blumenthal, “Axis Supporters Enlisted by U.S. in Postwar Role: Albani¬ 
ans Said to Have Been Spies in the Balkans,” New York Times, June 20, 1982 
(on Dosti); Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects (CROW- 
CASS), Wanted List No. 14, Berlin Command, Office of Military Government- 
U.S. 11/46, p. 14 (on Berzins); U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special 
Investigations, Digest of Cases in Litigation July 1, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: 
1984), pp. 34-35 (on Maikovskis). Concerning certain Ukrainian fraternal 
groups, see Ralph Blumenthal, “CIA Accused of Aid to ’30s Terrorist,” New 
York Times, February 6, 1986, and Joe Conason, “To Catch a Nazi,” Village 
Voice (February 11, 1986) both of which concern the case of noted Ukrainian 
emigre leader Mykola Lebed. On Daugavas Vanagi, see Daugavas Vanagi 
Biletens, no. 4 and no. 10 (1951), (at the New York Public Library, which 
identifies Berzins as a member of its central committee and editor of its 
journal; on Berzins’s wartime career, see CROWCASS entry cited above. At 
least three other senior Vanagi leaders have also been accused of war crimes. 

12. For Walter Lippmann quote, see Senator Charles Mathias, “Ethnic Groups 
and Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1981), p. 982. 

Chapter Two 

1. Control Council Law No. 10 (Berlin, December 20, 1945) is published in Leon 
Friedman, ed.. The Law of War: A Documentary History (New York, Random 
House, 1972), together with considerable other documentation tracing the 
evolution of these concepts. See also, Morris Greenspan, The Soldier's Guide 
to the Laws of War (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1969). 

2. There is an extensive literature on the Nazi war on the eastern front and on 
the Holocaust in German-occupied territories. For reliable studies used in the 
preparation of the present text, see Lucy Dawidowiscz, The War Against the 
Jews (New York: Bantam, 1976), pp. 537-41; Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust 
(New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985), hereinafter cited as Gilbert, 
Holocaust; Nora Levin, The Holocaust (New York: Schocken, 1973), pp. 268- 
89; Gerald Reitlinger, The House Built on Sand (London: Weidenfeld & Nicol- 
son, 1960), pp. 249-56, and Gerald Reitlinger, The SS: Alibi of a Nation 
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Prentice-Hall, 1981), hereinafter cited as Reitlinger, 



Source Notes 295 


House, and Reitlinger, SS; World Jewish Congress et aL, The Black Book: The 
Nazi Crime Against the Jewish People (New York: Nexus Press, 1981; reprint 
of the 1946 edition). Martin Gilbert’s concise Atlas of the Holocaust (New 
York: Macmillan, 1982), is also excellent, and contains an extensive bibliogra¬ 
phy, hereinafter cited as Gilbert, A tlas. The best single documentation of Nazi 
crimes presently available in English is Raul Hilberg’s extraordinary The De¬ 
struction of the Eu ropean Jews (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), particularly 
pp. 177-256. Hilberg’s book has recently been revised and expanded; the page 
number citations to the Hilberg book mentioned in the present text, however, 
are to the original edition. 

On Manstein’s order and POW starvation, see Alexander Werth, Russia at 
War 1941-1945 (New York: Avon, 1965), p. 646, and Davidson, op. cit, p. 568, 
Gilbert, Holocaust , p. 845, estimates losses of Soviet POWs at about 2,500,000, 
of whom 1 million were shot and the remainder killed through starvation and 
exposure. Manstein’s postwar career mentioned in footnote is noted in Hil¬ 
berg, op. cit., pp. 698 and 710. On the “Commissar Decree,” see Alexander 
Dallin, German Rule in Russia , 2d ed. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1981), 
pp. 30-31 and, on resettlement, p. 255ff., hereinafter cited as Dallin, German 
Rule . The mass killings at Rasseta and elsewhere are noted in Werth, op. cit., 
pp. 659-60. The Odessa massacre is described in Gilbert, Holocaust, pp. 217- 
18, and Hilberg, op. cit., pp. 200-01. On “hundreds of Lidices,” see Werth, op. 
cit., p. 658ff. 

3. For comment on “humane” methods, see Hilberg, op. cit., p. 210. 

4. The seminal work on political warfare on the eastern front—though perhaps 
the least available—is Friedrich Buchardt’s top secret manuscript “Die Be- 
handlung des russichen Problems wahrend der Zeit des national-sozialisti- 
schen Regimes in Deutschland” (1946?), originally prepared for British intelli¬ 
gence and later made available to American agencies as well. Based also on 
author’s interview with Mrs. Buchardt, May 17, 1984. Dallin, German Rule , 
devotes almost 200 pages to his study of “political warfare” as utilized on the 
eastern front; see pp. 497-505 and 660-78 for summaries. Reitlinger, House, 
pp. 248-56, offers valuable insights into the relationship between political 
warfare and the extermination program; and Matthew Cooper, The Nazi War 
Against the Soviet Partisans 1941-1944 (New York: Stein & Day, 1979), pre¬ 
sents a useful summary of the Osttruppen programs on pp. 109-23. 

5. On Pfleiderer, see Proceedings of the International Tribunal (at Nuremberg), 
vol. VIII, pp. 248-249; by Reitlinger, see Reitlinger, House, pp. 250 and 256. 

6. For SS role of Six and Augsburg, see captured SS Dossiers No. 107480 (Six) and 
No. 307925 (Augsburg) in the Berlin Document Center. 

On Hilger: Alfred Meyer interview, December 30, 1983. See also citations 
to wartime documentation on Hilger in Chapter Nine. 

On Kostring; “Final Interrogation Report: Koestring, Gen D Kav, CG of 
Volunteer Units,” Seventh U.S. Seventh Army Interrogation Center, SAIC/ 
FIR/42, September 11, 1945 (confidential). Box 721 A, Entry 179, Enemy 
POW Interrogation file (MIS-Y) 1943-1945, AC of 5, G-2 Intelligence Division, 
RG 165, NA, Washington, D.C. 

On Herwarth: Hans Heinrich Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Zwischen Hitler 



296 Source Notes 


und Stalin (Frankfurt: Verlag Ullstein, 1982), and Charles Thayer, Hands 
Across the Caviar (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1952), pp. 183-200, hereinafter 
cited as Thayer, Hands. 

On Gehlen: Cookridge, op. cit., or citations in Chapter Four. 

On Strik-Strikfelt: Wilfried Strik-Strikfelt, Gegen Stalin und Hitler: General 
Wlassow und die russiche Freiheitshewegung (Mainz: Hasc & Koehler Verlag, 
1970); in English, Against Stalin and Hitler , tr. David Footman (New York: 
John Day Co., 1973). 

7. Werth, op. cit., p. 646. 

For account of Vlasov discussed in footnote, see Strik-Strikfelt, op. cit., with 
quoted portion at pp. 229-30 in the English-language edition; quote concern¬ 
ing execution of Vlasov is on p. 245. For Thorwald quote in footnote, see 
Jurgen Thorwald (Heinz Bongartz), Flight in the Winter (New York: Pan¬ 
theon, 1951), p. 293. See also Jurgen Thorwald, The Illusion: Soviet Soldiers 
in Hitler's Armies (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974), p. 315ff., 
hereinafter cited as Thorwald, Illusion . 

For background and documentation on Vlasov and the Vlasov movement, 
see particularly Boris Dvinov, Politics of the Russian Emigration (Santa 
Monica, Calif.: Rand Corporation study Xo. P-768, 1955), pp. 54-112, and 
Boris Dvinov, Tfocuments o?i the Russian Emigration: An Appendix to Rand 
Paper P-768 (Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand Corporation study Xo. P-865, 1956), 
hereinafter cited as Dvinov, Politics of the Russia?i Emigration and Dvinov, 
Documents . Also valuable: “Russian Emigre Organizations,” United States 
Political Advisor for Germany, May 10, 1949 (secret), at 861.20262/5-1049 
Secret File, State Decimal files, RG 59, XA (this text is based on a U.S. inter¬ 
view with the former chief of Mil Amt “C” of the RSHA, Lieutenant Colonel 
Werner Ohletz, a senior German Abvvehr officer involved in Soviet emigre 
programs). For data on anti-Semitic activities by Vlasov’s movement, see 
Grigori Aronson, “Pravda o Vlasovtsakh [“The Truth About the Vlaso- 
vites”],” Xevv York, 1949. For a typical contemporary U.S. interrogation of a 
Vlasov leader, see “Preliminary Interrogation Report, Source: Jung, Igor,” 
U.S. Seventh Army Interrogation Center, July 12, 1945 (confidential), Box 
721-A, Entry 179, MIS-Y Enemy Interrogation Files, 1943-1945, RG 165, 
XA. 

Dallin, German Rule , p. 553ffi, and Reitlinger, House, p. 37Iff., offer proba¬ 
bly the best and most accessible summaries of Vlasov and his army. Joachim 
Hoffmann, Die Geschichte der Wlassow-Armee (Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag 
Rombach, 1984), presents a pro-Vlasov polemic that nevertheless offers many 
new details concerning the Vlasov movement’s role in the closing months of 
the war. Although dated, the best single guide to material about Vlasov held 
in American collections is probably still Michael Schatoff, Bibliography on 
[the] Vlasov Movement in World War II (Xevv York: .All Slavic Publishing 
House, 1961), in Russian and German, with summaries in English, which 
focuses primarily on Columbia University’s archives.^ 

8. Carroll, op. cit. 

9. On Kaminsky troops’ role in Vlasov Army, see Kostring, “Final Interrogation 
Report.” On this point see also: George H. Stein, The Waffen SS (Ithaca, X.Y.: 
Cornell University Press, 1966), pp. 187-88 and 265. See Alexander Dallin, 



Source Notes 297 


The Kaminsky Brigade 1941-1944 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University 
Russian Research Center, 1956), hereinafter cited as Dallin, Kaminsky. On 
Kaminsky troops’ role in antipartisan and anti-Semitic activities in Belorussia, 
see Werth, op. cit., pp. 651-64 passim and 782-83; and Gilbert, Holocaust , p. 
298, for discussion of Belorussian police. 

For Guderian comment, see Heinz Hohne, The Order of the Death’s Head 
(New York: Ballantine, 1971), p. 615. For Kaminsky troops’ role in anti-Semitic 
murders in Warsaw uprising, see Hohne, op. cit., p. 615ff., and Gilbert, Holo¬ 
caust , p. 717. 

10. For Bossi-Fedrigotti quote, see Dallin, German Rule , p. 519, n. 2. Dallin 
presents the controversy over Nazi racial politics as it applied to war on the 
eastern front at length; see pp. 107-304 and 587-636. See also: Dvinov, Politics 
of the Russian Emigration , Dvinov, Documents , George Fischer, Soviet Op¬ 
position to Stalin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952), and 
John A. Armstrong, Ukrainian Nationalism 1939-1945 (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1955). 

11. HeygendorfFs comments are drawn from secret studies on use of defectors 

on the eastern front prepared for U.S. Intelligence by German political war-^ ^ 
fare experts after the war. Though many such reports remain^classified, an * 
important collection of them (including tEe"*Heygendorff paper) has been & 
published as part of a twenty-four volume series titled World War 11 German 
Military Studies , edited by Donald Detweiler, Burdick, and Rohwer. See 
also Kostring and Seraphim’s account titled MS’ C-043: Eastern Nationals as 
Volunteers in the German Army , in the same series, which reaches much 
the same conclusion as Heygendorff. For a more extensive collection of ther 
United States’ systematic program to tap German military knowledge, see) 
the Foreign Military Studies records of RG 338, NA, Washington, D.C. J 

12. For quotations from Nuremberg tribunals cited in this section, see Trials of 
War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Coun¬ 
cil Law No. 10 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1949-1953), 
vol. IV, with discussion of the roles of interrogators and Vorkommandos on pp. 
523-25 and 575-76. 

13. Strik-Strikfeldt’s post as chief interrogator (under Roenne’s command in Ab- 
wehr Group III) is noted in Heinz Hohne and Hermann Zolling, The General 
Was a Spy (New York: Bantam, 1972), p. 40. See also Cookridge, op. cit., pp. 
50-52, 56-67. 

14. Ohlendorf testimony on the Einsatzgruppen appears in an affidavit of April 
24, 1947, pp. 92-95, in Trials of War Criminals , loc. cit. 

15. Hilberg’s comments on the role of auxiliaries in killing operations is found in 
Hilberg, op. cit., pp. 205-06 and 243-46, with Biberstein’s comment on p. 206. 

16. On the CIOS and S Force etc., see: Report of the Combined Intelligence 
Objectives Subcommittee , (Washington, D.C.: Office of Technical Services, 
U.S. Department of Commerce, 1944), and Doris Canham, History of AMC 
Intelligence, T-2 (Wright Field, Ohio, 1948). For more accessible summaries, 
see Clarence Lasby, Project Paperclip (New York: Antheneum, 1975), pp. 
18-26; Boris Pash, The Alsos Mission (New York: Award House, 1969), pp. 24, 

54, 57-59, and 136; and Michel Bar-Zohar, La Chasse aux Savants Allemands 
(Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1965). See also: “Minutes of Meeting Held 



298 Source Notes 


20 December 1944” (re: OSS use of T Forces as cover for “unacknowledgea ble 
activities”) Box 52, Entryh^rFoTHer 37RG 226, NA, Washinglo^D.Cr*^ 
17. Pash, op. cit, p. 99; Lasby, op. cit., pp. 16-17. On Alsos, see also Leslie R. 
Groves. Now It Can Be Told (Ne w York: Harper & Row, 1962), and^Samuel 
Goudsnut^AlsoFlNew York: n.p., 1947). 


Chapter Three 

1. Dornberger’s own account of his wartime career is in Walter Dornberger, V-2 
(New York: Viking, 1958). For another flattering view, see Dieter Huzel, 
Peenemunde to Canaveral (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962). For a 
slave laborer’s perspective, see Jean Michel with Louis Nucera, Dora (New 
York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1980). For brief basic biographies of Dorn¬ 
berger, including awards and positions, see R. Turner, ed., The Annual Obitu¬ 
ary—1980 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980), and Current Biography 1965, 
p. 125ff. See Lasby, op. cit., pp. 32, 113, and 259, for basic biography and 
discussion of work at Wright Field. 

2. Dornberger, op. cit., p. 99ff. 

3. Original documentation concerning conditions at the Nordhausen works is 
found in the case record of the war crimes trial US. Army v. Kurt Andrae et 
at, August 7 to December 30, 1947, microfilm M1079, NA. On this point see 
also U.S. Army INSCOM dossier on factory administrator Arthur Rudolph, loc. 
cit., available through FOIA request. Secondary sources: Pierre Durand, Les 
Frangais a Buchenwald et a Dora (Paris: Editions Sociales, c. 1977); Christine 
Somerhausen, Les Beiges deportes a Dora (Brussels: Centre Guillaume 
Jacquemyns, 1979); and Michel, op. cit. 

4. On authority at the Nordhausen works, see U. S. Army v. Kurt Andrae et al ., 
loc. cit. Dornberger largely confirms his pivotal role in production scheduling, 
though ignoring its significance; see Dornberger, op. cit., pp. 211 and 239. 

5. Dornberger, op. cit., p. 259; on Dornberger’s knowledge of atrocities, see 
“Niederschrift liber die Besprechung um 6.5.1944 im Biiro Generaldirektor 
Rickhey [“Transcript Dealing with the Conference of May 6, 1944, in the 
Office of Director General Rickhey”],” Imperi al War M useum^Xpn don^ jepro- 
duced in Eli Rosenbaum, [Arthur] RuSolpIrT(he Speer Analogy (New York: 
s.p., 1985). 

6. “German Civilians Compelled to Bury Victims of Nazis,” New York Times , 
April 23,1945, p. 5; and “Atrocity Films Released,” New York Times , April 27, 
1945, p. 3. Also noteworthy in the shaping of American opinion concerning 
Nazi atrocities was the liberation of the somewhat smaller concentration 
camps at Ohrdruf (April 4, 1945) and at Gardelegen (April 14, 1945). U.S. 
Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Patton visited Ohrdruf amid 
heavy publicity; see Gilbert, Holocaust , p. 7901F. 

7. Lasby, op. cit., pp. 37-49, and 85, with $400-$500 million figure on p. 42. 

8. Ibid., pp. 83-87. On Soviet acquisition of scientists, see also Office of Strategic 
Services, “General Situation Report No. 2., 15 July to 1 September 1945” (top 
secret). 

9. Hunt, op. cit. 

10. Lasby, op. cit., pp. 77-79. 

11. Ibid., pp. 80-81. 



Source Notes 299 


12. Ibid., pp. 58-59. 

13. Hunt, op. cit., Lasby, op. cit. pp. 151-60 and 176-78. Former OMGUS official 
quote: confidential informant. 

14. Lasby, op. cit., p. 159; Hunt, op. cit., with underlying documentation in “Re¬ 
port on Conference with State,” to Director JIOA from Commander C. R. 
Welte, May 26, 1947; Wev to Chamberlin, July 2, 1947; and Intelligence 
Division GSUSA from JIOA Deputy Director Walter Rozamus, November 28, 
1947. 

15. Reporter Linda Hunt was the first to unearth records concerning the Penta/ 
gon’s efforts to suppress military records of the Nazi pasts of certain of the 
German scientists it was then recruiting; see: Hunt, op. cit. On this point see\ 
also “Application of Denazification Procedures to German Scientists,” from 
Lucius Clay to Noce, September 20, 1947, in which General Clay provides 
1,000 blank Meldebogens (denazification interview forms) to Noce and argues: 
“It would be much better to permit them [German scientists] to remain in ther- 
U.S. as Nazis without bringing them to trial than to establish special proce-l 
dures not now within the purview of German law,” in Lucius Clay, Papers of] 
General Lucius D. Clay , ed. Jean Edward Smith (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana 
University Press, 1947), vol. Ill, pp. 432-33, hereinafter Clay Papers. 

16. Hunt, op. cit. Quote is from cable from JIOA Deputy Director Rozamus to 
Intelligence Division GSUSA. 

17. Hunt, op. cit., also Lasby, op. cit., pp. 113, 159, 209, and 245. On Arthur 
Rudolph: U.S. Department of Justice press statement, October 17,1984; Ralph 
Blumenthal, “Ge rma m born NASAJ ^Aj^ert Quits U.S. to Avoid a War Crimes 
Suit” and “NASS'TTefuses to Comment on Its Former Official,” New York 
Times , October 18,1984, pp. 1 and A-13; James M. Markham, “Ex-Nazi Denies 
Role in Deaths of Slave Laborers,” New York Times , October 21, 1984, p. 8; 
Thomas O’Toole and Mary Thorton, “A Long Trail to Departure of Ex-Nazi 
Rocket Expert,” Washington Post , November 4, 1984, p. 1. See also Rudolph’s 
extensive U.S. Army INSCOM dossier, available through the Freedom of In¬ 
formation Act. 

On Rickhey, see U.S. Army v. Kurt Andrae et ah, loc. cit. 

On Schreiber, see Nuremberg Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Hardy’s 
memo, “The Case of Walter Schreiber,” February 17, 1952. 


Chapter Four 

1. Reinhard Gehlen, The Service , tr. D. Irving (New York: World Publishing, 
1972), pp. 3-10, with quoted statement on p. 6. On Gehlen’s surrender, see 
U.S. Army records, “Report of Interrogation: Gehlen, Reinhard, 28 August 
1945,” G-2 MIS-Y, Gehlen folder (secret). Box 472, RG 165, NA. This interroga¬ 
tion report also discusses Bokor’s role. Bokor’s name is reported there as 
“Capt. Boka.” For physical description at time of arrest, see “Basic Personnel 
Record #3WG-1300: Gehlen, Reinhard,” in the same folder. See also: Cook- 
ridge, op. cit. pp. 111-23; Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., pp. 61-72; Alain Guerin, 
Le General Gris (Paris: Julliard, 1969); and Charles Whiting, Gehlen: Ger¬ 
many's Master Spy (New York: Ballantine, 1972). 

For Himmler’s “peace proposals” mentioned in text, see Hohne, op. cit., 
p. 583ff. 



300 Source Notes 


2. Gehlen, op. cit. 3 p. 6ff. Also: Richard Harris Smith, OSS (Berkeley: University 
of California Press, 1972), pp. 239-41, hereinafter cited as Smith, OSS . 

On Bokor: interview with retired Colonel John A. S. Bokor, Captain Bokor’s 
f\ i son, June 9, 1984. 

y For original documentation on standing U.S. orders regarding relations with 
* German POWs who had formerly been intelligence officers, see “Counter- 
Intelligence Screening of the German Armed Forces,” Supreme Headquar¬ 
ters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, March 1945 (s ecret), Folder GBI/CI/ 
CS/091.711-2 (Germany), “C. I. Control and Disposal of German Forces,” Box 
110, Entry 15, RG 331, NA. 

3. Smith, OSS , p. 240. 

For biographic details on Generals Sibert and Bedell Smith, see Department 
of Defense Office of Public Information Press Branch reports on Sibert (April 3, 
1952) and Smith (July 31, 1951), available through the Center for Militar y 
History, W ashington. DC. Sibert’s obituary appeared in the Washington Post 
on December 23, 1977, and Smith’s career is discussed in \Vebster’s A meiican 
Military Biographies (Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam, 1979), p. 400. 

4. SeSTiehien, "Report of Interrogation.” 

5. On starvation camps, see Werth, op. cit., p. 643ff., and Davidson, op. cit., p. 
568. On Gehlen’s wartime role in German POW interrogation programs, see 
David Kahn, Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II 
(New York; Macmillan, 1978), pp. 142-51, 428-35 passim. 

6. For Gehlen “on principle” quote, see Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., p. 196, or 
Jurgen Thorwald, “Der Mann im Dunkelin,” Welt am Sontage, December 18, 
1956. 

On Sommer, Krichbaum, and Schmidt, see Cookridge, op. cit., pp. 144-45; 
Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., p. 199. 

7. Bokor interview, June 9, 1984. 

8. Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., p. 172. 

9. On Dr. Franz Alfred Six: For quote on “solving the Jewish Question,” see 
Trials of War Criminals , vol. IV, p. 525, with a summary of Six’s war crimes 
on p. 521ff. On wartime role, see Central Intelligence Agency, Study of Intelli¬ 
gence and Counterintelligence Activities on the Eastern Front and Adjacent 
Areas During World War II (confidential), Addendum G: “Members of the SS 
Who Participated in Mass Executions and Atrocities,” p. 7, RG 263, NA, here¬ 
inafter cited as CIA Eastern Front Study . See also State Department Propa¬ 
ganda Investigation Team, “Investigation Report,” April 30, 1946, interroga¬ 
tion of Franz Six and Horst Mahnke, RG 238, NA; and State Department 
Special Interrogation Mission, interrogation of Fritz E. A. von Twardowsky, 
October 3,1945, Box 745, Entry 179 (G-2 ID MIS-Y records), RG 165, NA. Six’s 
SS and NSDAP dossier is available through the Berlin Document Center, SS 
No. 107480, NSDAP No. 245,670. 

On Six’s “eager beaver” relationship with Himmler: Das Eichmann-Proto- 
koll (Berlin: Severin und Siedler, 1982); or Eichmann Interrogated (New York: 
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983), pp. 27 and 29. See also Twardowsky interroga¬ 
tion, loc. cit. 

Six’s writings circulated by the Nazis include Europa: Tradition und Zu- 



Source Notes 


301 


kunft (1944) and Feimaurerei und Judenemanzipation (1938), both published 
*t>y Hanseatische Verlagsansalt, Hamburg; Les Guerres Intestines en Europe et 
la Guerre d’Union du Present , n. d. (1941?); and Dokumente der deutschen 
Politik (Berlin: Deutsches Auslandswissenschaftliches Institut, 1942). 

On Augsburg’s role noted in the text, see Emil Augsburg records at the 
Berlin Document Center, SS No. 307925. 

10. For an overview of Amt VI, see Kahn, op. cit., pp. 253-71; Hohne and Zolling, 
op. cit., pp. 368-69; and Walter Schellenberg, The Labyrinth, tr. Louis Hagen 
(New York: Harper Bros., 1956), pp. 273-76. 

On Poppe: Author’s interviews with Nikolai N. Poppe, October 26 and 
December 4,1984, and Nicholas Poppe (Nikolai N. Poppe), Reminiscences, ed. 
Henry Schwartz (Bellingham, Wash.: Western Washington University Center 
for East Asian Studies, 1983), p. 163ff/ "" ~~ ” 

Archival material on the Wannsee Institute includes interrogations of Six, 
Mahnke, and Twardowsky cited in source note 9, above; and “Interrogation 
Summary No. 1989: Walter Schellenberg,” Office of U.S. Chief Counsel for 
War Crimes Evidence Division, April 30, 1947, with text in German and 
summary in English. See also: Records of the Reich Leader of the SS and Chief 
of the German Police , microfilmed at Alexandria, Va., RG T-175, Roll 455, 
Frame 2971560ff., for documentation concerning Wannsee’s role in the loot¬ 
ing of libraries and bookdealers; Roll 456, Frame 2972093ff., for correspon¬ 
dence, security passes, lists of employees, etc., from the institute; and roll 457, 
Frame 2973523ff., for Amt VI-G correspondence concerning use of concentra¬ 
tion camp inmates for custodial work. This collection is on microfilm in the NA 
and in a number of leading l ibraries. Office of U.S. Chief Counsel for War 
Crimes, Staff Evidence Analysis, Doc . No.: NO-3022, in the Nuremberg rec¬ 
ords at the NA, documents SS General Berger’s response to one Wannsee 
study by Akhmeteli. 

For a surviving example of a Wannsee study, see Wannsee Institute, Kauka- 
sus (Berlin: Herausgegeben vom Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, 
1942), now in the Libra ry of Co ngress. ^ 

For Eichmann’sRecollection of Wannsee Conference: Life (November 28, 
1960), pp. 24 and 101. An English translation of the Wannsee Protocol itself 
can be found in John Mendelsohn, ed., The Holocaust: The Wannsee Protocol 
and a 1944 Report on Auschwitz (London and New York: Garland, 1982), 
which includes a commentary by Robert Wolfe of the Modern Military Branch 
at the NA. The translation of the protocol (known as Nuremberg Document 
No. NG-2586) was done by the Office of U.S. Chief Counsel for War Crimes. 

On Role of Six, Ohlendorf, and Schellenberg as “Nazified professors and 
lawyers,” see Hohne, op. cit., p. 154. 

11. Interview with Benjamin Ferencz, July 20, 1984. 

On postwar work with Augsburg and Hirschfield incident, see “Special 
Interrogation Report No. 65,” File CI-SIR/66, subject: Barbie, Klaus (top se¬ 
cret), p. 4, Tab 29 of Ryan, Barbie Exhibits. East German claims against Six 
can be found in Albert Norden, Brown Book, War and Nazi Criminals in West 
Germany (DDR Documentation Center of State Archives Administration, 
Verlag Zeit im Bild, German Democratic Republic), pp. 79-80. 


302 Source Notes 


12. On need for specific approval by Clemency Board, see Charles Thayer, “Inqui¬ 
ries Concerning War Criminals,” p. 6 (n.d.) in Thayer Papers, at Truma n 
Library. On Six's clemency b y McCloy, see New Yo rkTtmes^TJcf oEer 4, 1952. 

On Six’s defense testimony on behalf of Eichmann mentioned in footnote, 
see New York Times , May 3, 1961, p. 14; May 15, 1961, p. 16. 

On Six’s work for Porsche: Hilberg, op. cit., p. 713. Eichmann’s work for 
Daimler-Benz: Eichmann Interrogated , loc. cit., p. 283. 

13. Dr. Emil Augsburg: For “Jew-baiting,” see Augsburg's records at the Berlin 
Document Center, SS No. 307925, NSDAP No. 5,518,743. On “special tasks,” 
see Augsburg, “Beforderungsvorichlag: Hauptsturmfuhrer Dr. Emil Augs¬ 
burg,” July 10,1941, Document No. 23009-23010. See also interrogation of Six 
and Mahnke, loc. cit. 

14. On Augsburg’s work for SS General Bernau and other employers, see “Subject: 
Merk, Kurt,” November 16, 1948, HQ CIC Region IV to HQ 7970th CIC 
Group, EUCOM, p. 2 (secret), Tab 33, Ryan, Barbie Exhibits. On Barbie 
connection, “Dr. Althaus” alias, etc., see Tabs 9,18, 29, and 33 of Ryan, Barbie 
Exhibits. A SanitTzecKversion of Augsburg’s CIC do ssier is available through 
the FOIA at'trSTffiny INSUOMTseeTiTeT^a XKOO^tH 6B0367 Au gsBurg, 
Emil (^cret)?^n warRrnel^ivities, including role in killing squads, see source 
note 13, above. Allan Ryan has told the author that he believes Augsburg also 
worked for British intelligence during 1947. 

On Wannsee director Dr. Mikhail Akhmeteli, discussed in footnote: Akh- 
meteli’s NSDAP Card No. 5360858, as well as some captured correspondence 
with SS General Berger, is available through the Berlin Document Center. On 
Akhmeteli’s wartime role, see interrogation of Six and Mahnke, loc. cit.; inter¬ 
rogation of Schellenberg, loc. cit. (Schellenberg’s testimony offers the physical 
description of Akhmeteli.) Secondary sources include: Alwin Ramme, Der 
Sicherheitsdienst der SS (Berlin: Deutscher Militarverlag, 1969?), pp. 95-97; 
Peter Kleist, Zwischen Hitler und Stalin (Bonn: Athenaum Verlag, 1950), pp. 
134-35; and (in English) Dallin, German Ride , loc. cit., pp. 170n, 323n., and 
357. On race theory, see Armstrong, op. cit., p. 574. On early life, see Hohne 
and Zolling, op. cit., pp. 368-69. On relationship with Gehlen, see Cookridge, 
op. cit., pp. 242 and 311. 

15. On Augsburg’s work for Gehlen: Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., p. 199; Cook¬ 
ridge, op. cit., pp. 194 and 242. 


Chapter Five 

1. Arthur Macy Cox interview, June 7, 1984. 

2. Cookridge, op. cit., pp. 158 and 161. Dulles quote: Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., 
p. xv. 

3. Rositzke comments: For “virtually empty,” see Harry A. Rositzke, The CIA's 
Secret Operations (New York: Reader’s Digest Press, 1977), p. 20. For “pri¬ 
mary role” comment: Harry Rositzke interview, January 16, 1985. 

4. W. Park Armstrong interview, June 17, 1983. On “retyping reports,” see 
Cookridge, op. cit., p. 201. Hohne comment: Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., p. 
107, or see original Spiegel series in spring and summer 1971. 

5. Marchetti interview, June 7, 1984. 

6. Cox comments, December 15, 1983. 



Source Notes 303 


7. The author is indebted to Matthew A. Evangelista's study, “Stalin’s Postwar 
Army Reappraised,” International Security (Winter 1982-1983), p. llOff., 
from which a number of pertinent points in this section have been drawn. On 
railroads, see Evangelista, op. cit., pp. 120-23; on Soviet dependence on horse- 
drawn transport discussed in footnote, see ibid., p. 121; E. O’Ballance, The Red 
Army (London: Faber & Faber, 1964), p. 192; and Dr. Allen F. Chew, “Fight¬ 
ing the Russians in Winter, Three Case Studies,” U.S. Army Command and 
General Staff College, Leavenworth Papers, December 1981, pp. 35-41. On 
1946 estimates, see JWPC 432/7, “Tentative Over-all Strategic Concept and 
Estimate of Initial Operations—Pincher,” June 18, 1946 (top secret), cited in 
Evangelista's study. 

8. On MIS/OSS rivalry see, for example, Anthony Cave Brown, The Last Hero: 
Wild Bill Donovan (New York: Vintage, 1982), pp. 305-07. 

9. For “opportunist” quote, see “Memorandum For: Chief of Staff, United States 
Army, Subject: Grombach, John V.,” from James L. Collins, Acting Deputy AC 
of S for Intelligence, July 5, 1967 (confidential), in Grombach Dossier, No. 
81177870, U.S. Army INSCOM, Fort Meade, Md. 

For an overview of Grombach’s career, including his accomplishments in 
sports, see Grombach’s obituary in the West Point alumni magazin e Assembly 
(June 1983), p. 132. NB: Grombach, who was born of French parents, was 
christened Jean Valentin Grombach. In his adult life, however, he generally 
preferred to use the form “John Valentine Grombach,” which is what is used 
in this text. 

10. INSCOM Dossier No. 81177870 is the best single source of documentation on 
Grombach’s professional career. See particularly “Summary of Information 
(SR 380-320-10)” reports for the following dates and subjects: “G-2 SPS Grom¬ 
bach, John Valentine,” June 1, 1955 (top secret); “N. V. Philips Co.,” June 1, 
1955 (top secret); “Grombach, John V.,” September 23, 1958 (confidential); 
and memo from Brigadier General Richard Collins, director of plans, pro¬ 
grams, and security to ASCoSI, Subject: Grombach, John Valentine, Septem¬ 
ber 30, 1958 (secret). On Philips’s role, see Grombach letter to Colonel George 
F. Smith, April 12, 1950, and Collins report of September 5, 1958 (secret). For 
quote on “pro-Marxist personnel,” the purges of OSS R&A, and the Grom- 
bach-OSS R&A conflict generally, see “G-2 SPS Grombach, John Valentine,” 
June 1, 1955 (top secret), and the April 12, 1950, Grombach letter to Colonel 
George F. Smith. On Katyn Forest massacre dispute, see Brigadier General 
Richard Collins memo of September 30, 1958. 

On Duran case, see David Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense: The World 
of Joe McCarthy (New York: Free Press-Macmillan, 1983), p. 126, and David 
Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisen¬ 
hower (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978), pp. 331-38. Grombach later 
claimed it had been he who first discovered the “Communist connections” of 
Carl Marzani, Alger Hiss, John Stewart Service, and several other well-known 
targets of 1940s security investigations. 

For Grombach’s comments discussed in footnote, see John V. Grombach, 
The Great Liquidator (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), p. xvii. The aim 
of this book, Grombach writes, was to “convince the U.S. public that subver¬ 
sion and clandestine espionage activities cannot be controlled by normal. 



304 Source Notes 

legal, and proper methods. The current limitations placed on both the CIA 
and FBI,” he continues, “would more properly fit a Boy Scout organization” 
(p. xviii). 

11. On Project 1641, ibid., pp. xvii-xviii, 109, and 114; Lyman Kirkpatrick inter¬ 
view, April 11, 1984; and “G-2 SPS Grombach, John Valentine,” June 1, 1955 
(top secret), and the April 12, 1950, Grombach letter to Colonel George F. 
Smith. 

12. On resignation of McCormack and its significance, see William R. Corson, The 
Armies of Ignorance (New York: Dial/James Wade, 1977), p. 272; and Smith, 
OSS, pp. 364-66. 

13. Interview with retired officer of the Office of National Estimates (ONE), June 
30, 1986. 

14. Lukacs comments: John Lukacs, “The Soviet State at 65,” Foreign Affairs (Fall 
1986), pp. 27-29. Hohne on “alarm signal”: Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., pp. 
100, 106-07. 

15. Cable “.340: The Berlin Situation” (top secret), Clay Papers, vol. II, pp. 568- 
69. On Czech spring crisis, see Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of 
the Cold War and the National Security State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 
1977), pp. 343-54. 

16. Clay Papers, pp. 568-69. See also Lucius Clay, Decision in Germany (Garden 
City; N.Y.: Doubleday, 1950), pp. 345-55. 

17. On effects of Clay’s (and Gehlen’s) “alarm”: Final Report of the Select Commit¬ 
tee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 
U.S. Senate, 94th Congress, 2d Session, 1976, hereinafter cited as Church 
Committee Report, book IV, p. 29; Yergin, op. cit., pp. 351-54; and interview 
with retired officer of the Office of National Estimates, June 30, 1986. The key 
role of these warnings in the political events that followed is also noted in 
Steven L. Rear den, The Formative Years, vol. 1 of History of the Office of the 
Secretary of Defense, ed. Alfred Goldberg (Washington, D.C.: Historical 
Office, OSD, Department of Defense, 1984), p. 281ff. 

On supposed Soviet military superiority in early postwar Europe, see, for 
example (on “mobile spearhead” and estimate of divisions), Evangelista, op. 
cit., pp. 114-16; and JIC Report, December 2,1948, p. 2, noted in Evangelista. 
Also Marchetti interview, June 7, 1984. For document quoted in footnote, see 
“Memorandum for Chief of Staff US Army, Subject: Soviet Intentions and 
Capabilities 1949-1956/57,” January 4, 1949 (top secret), in Hot Files, Box 9, 
Tab 70, RG 319, NA, Washington, D.C. 

18. Evangelista, op. cit., pp. 112 and 115. For U.S. News quote, see “Russia’s Edge 
in Men and Arms,” U.S. News i? World Report (April 2, 1948), pp. 23-25. 

19. Paul Nitze, “NSC 68 and the Soviet Threat Reconsidered,” International 
Security (Spring 1980), pp. 170-76, noted in Evangelista, op. cit., p. 112. 

20. Marchetti interview, June 7, 1984. 

For role of “human sources” discussed in text, see EUCOM Annual Report 
1954, pp. 128-32, 145, 148, and 485-88 (secret). Adjutant General's Office 
Command Report Files 1949-1954, RG 407, NA, Suitland, Md. For popular 
summaries on intelligence gathering using these methods, including some 
statistics, see James P. O’Donnell, “They Tell Us Stalin’s Secrets,” Saturday 



Source Notes 305 


Evening Post (May 3, 1952), p. 32; same author and magazine, “These Russians 
Are on Our Side” (June 6, 1953); also Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., pp. 94 and 
107-08; and Cookridge, op. cit., p. 201. For Richard Bissell comment on the 
ineffectiveness of human source intelligence in totalitarian societies, see Leon¬ 
ard Mosley, Dulles (New York: Dial Press, 1978), p. 374. 

On missile gap discussed in footnote: Marchetti interview, June 7, 1984. 
Rositzke disagrees with Marchetti on this point, arguing that German intelli¬ 
gence on Soviet rocket programs was generally good; see Rositzke, op. cit., p. 
20. H. A. R. (“Kim”) Philby, a Soviet double agent who penetrated the British 
Secret Intelligence Service, expressed his opinion of Gehlen’s effectiveness 
after Philby had defected to the USSR. “I knew about the Gehlen unit from 
the summer of 1943 onwards . . he commented in 1977. “It seemed to be 
no better than the other sections of the A b we hr, which means it was very bad 
indeed. No exaggeration, no joke. So I was undismayed when CIA took it 
over.” See Philby’s April 7, 1977, letter to author Leonard Mosley published 
in Mosley, op. cit., pp. 493-96. 

Dornberger’s role in the missile gap affair is noted in John Prados, The Soviet 
Estimate (New York: Dial, 1982), p. 61, which offers a consistently valuable 
presentation of the intelligence estimation process. 

21. Marchetti interview, June 7, 1984. 

Chapter Six 

1. On CROWCASS, see United Nations War Crimes Commission, History of the 
UNWCC and the Development of the Laws of War (London: HMSO, 1948), 
pp. 360-80; and Ryan, Barbie Exhibits, Tab 19. Copies of the now-rare 
CROWCASS index books are available at Boxes 3690 and 3692, RG 59, NA, 
Washington, D.C., and Box 1720, RG 153, NA, Suitland, Md. The U.S. Army 
INSCOM has released a dossier of typical CIC CROWCASS correspondence 
in response to an FOIA request by the author; see INSCOM Dossier No. XE 
004643 D 20B 102 (secret). 

2. Corson, op. cit., pp. 84 and 86-88. 

3. Ibid., p. 87. On Thayer/Herwarth, see Thayer, Hands, p. 186; on Gehlen, see 
Gehlen, op. cit., pp. 8 and 11. 

4. Bramel is quoted in Brendan Murphy, The Butcher of Lyon (New York, Em¬ 
pire Books, 1983), p. 230. 

5. Herb Brucher interview, May 23, 1984. 

6. On Catch-22, see, for example, Ryan, Barbie Report, pp. 50-51; on collection 
of clippings and similar “paper mill” type of information, see ibid., pp. 25-26. 

7. On Camp King (Durchgangslager fur Luftwaffe), Bokor interview, June 9, 
1984; also JCS, “Dulag Luft,” nonclassified, privately printed, n.d. (1976?), on 
Scharff (p. 75), killing of escapees (pp. 37-38), high-level POWs (p. 80), return¬ 
ing POWs (p. 82)—copy in author’s collection. The author is indebted to John 
Bokor for bringing this manuscript to my attention. On the postwar reputation 
of the camp, see Victor A prchett^aru FJo hn Marks , The CIA and theJZultof 
Jptellig ence (New York: Dell, 1974), pp. 187-88; and James P. O’Donnell, 
“These Russians Are on Our Side,” loc. cit. On Dulag Luft, see also Philip 
Flammer, ed., “Dulag Luft: The Third Reich’s Prison Camp for Airmen,” and 



306 Source Notes 


James L. Cole, “Dulag Luft: Recalled and Revisited,” both in Aerospace Histo¬ 
rian (June 1972), p. 58ff. On writing histories, see, for example, Gehlen “Re¬ 
port of Interrogation,” pp. 2-4. 

8. JCS, “Dulag Luft,” p. 82. 

9. For code names and brief descriptions of these operations, see P&O File 311.5 
TS (Sections I, II, III), 1948, in 1946-1948 top secret decimal file, Records of 
Army General Staff, RG 319, NA. See also same citation in 1949-1950 decimal 
files; with additional details available via FOIA requests to Suitland archives. 

10. Mark Aarons interview, June 20, 1985. fimigre sources claim that there were 
some 250,000 to 500,000 executions of anti-Communist Croats and Slovenes 
during 1944 and 1945. Although those figures are clearly exaggerated, they 
suggest that large-scale massacres did take place. Krunoslav Dragonovic’s 
essay “The Biological Extermination of Croats in Tito’s Yugoslavia,” in Antun 
F. Bonifacic and Climent Miknovich, The Croatian Nation (Chicago: Croatia 
Cultural Publishing Center, 1955), discusses these killings in considerable de¬ 
tail. 

The repatriation programs mentioned in the text remain the object of in¬ 
tense controversy. For reliable accounts, see Nicholas Bethell, The Last Secret 
(New York: Basic Books, 1974), and Mark R. Elliot, Pawns of Yalta (Urbana, 
Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1982), p. 104ff. More controversial studies 
include Julius Epstein, Operation Keelhaul (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin- 
Adair, 1973), and Nikolai Tolstoy, The Secret Betrayal (New York: Charles 
Scribner’s Sons, 1978). 

For contemporary coverage of the breakdown of U.S.-Soviet cooperation on 
the war crimes issue, see, for example, “Soviet, Italy Raise Extradition Issue,” 
New York Times, February 25, 1948, and Delbert Clark, “Red Push Must End, 
Clay Aide Asserts,” New York Times, March 5, 1948 (on suspension of extradi¬ 
tion of war criminals to Czechoslovakia). 

11. On the murders at Katyn and the Polish deportations, see, Louis FitzGibbon, 
Katyn (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971); J. Heydecker, and J. Leeb, 
The Nuremberg Trial, tr. R. A. Downie (Cleveland and New York: World 
Publishing, 1962), pp. 293-307; George F. Kennan, Memoirs 1925-1950 (Bos¬ 
ton: Little, Brown, 1967), pp. 199-200, hereinafter cited as Kennan vol. /. For 
executions at Dubno, see CIA Eastern Front Study , “Addendum A: NKVD 
Operatives and Persons Connected with Them,” particularly p. 2 entry for 
“Bronstein.” On deportations from the Baltic states, see, for example, William 
Tomingas, The Soviet Colonization of Estonia (Kultuur Publishing House, 
1973), p. 265ff. 

12. Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers, tr. Strobe Talbot (Boston: Little, 
Brown, 1970), pp. 596-97; or see Joseph L. Nogee and Robert H. Donaldson, 
Soviet Foreign Policy Since World War II (New York: Pergamon, 1981), pp. 
56-59. 

13. On Iron Guardists in Romanian Communist party, see Ceau§escu’s speech at 
the 1961 plenum in Scinteis (December 13, 1961), as noted in Paul Lendvai, 
Eagles in Cobwebs (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969), pp. 287-89. 

14. “Statement of Mr. Djilas,” Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixth 
Session, Ad Hoc Political Committee, Eighth Meeting, United Nations, No- 



Source Notes 307 


vember 26, 1951, A/OR 6/Ad Hoc Committee. On East German use of Nazis: 
for Grossmann and Bartsch, see John Dornberg, The Other Germany (Garden 
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968), p. 297; for Erdely, see U.S. Dept, of State cable, 
Heidelberg to secretary of state, 862.20211/8-2045, August 21, 1948 (confi¬ 
dential), RG 59, NA; on Carl Clodius, see “Nazi Economist Used by Comin- 
form,” Prevent World War II (May-June 1948), Columbia University Library. 
For Rattenhuber, Bamler, and Heidenreich, see Cookridge, op. cit., pp. 271- 
72. For Bamler, Sanitzer, and Hagemeister, see Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., 
pp. 238-39 and 243-44. 

Chapter Seven 

1. Yergin, op. cit., pp. 288-96. Also: John Iatrides, Revolt in Athens (Princeton, 
N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972). 

2. On IDEA, see Ian McDonald, “Senator [Metcalf] Says Greek Leaders Aided 
Nazis,” Times of London, November 17, 1971, and Jack Anderson, “The Junta 
and the Nazis,” New York Post , November 16, 1971. On persecution of Greek 
Jews by Greek rightists, see Ivan Mihailoff, “Greece and the Jews of Salonika,” 
Balkania (July 1967), particularly p. 15. On events during the Greek civil war 
generally, see Yergin, op. cit., pp. 279-95, and Todd Gitlin, “Counter-Insur¬ 
gency: Myth and Reality in Greece,” in David Horowitz, ed., Containment 
and Revolution (Boston: Beacon, 1967), p. 140ff. On wartime casualties of Jews 
and Greeks, see Eugene Keefe et al., Area Handbook for Greece , 2d ed. 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 28. Also author's 
interviews with Elias Demetracopoulos, who kindly provided the author with 
news clippings concerning events in his native country. 

Original source material concerning the role of Nazi collaborators in Greece 
includes: “Seventh Army Interrogation Center Preliminary Interrogation Re¬ 
port: POULOS, Georg, OBST (Col), Greek Police Volunteer Bn,” June 27, 
1945, ref: SAIC/PIR/61 (secret), Box 721-A, Entry 179, MIS-Y Enemy Interro¬ 
gation Files 1943-1945, RG 165, NA. American interrogations of SS RSHA 
Amt. VI leader Otto Skorzeny in 1945 also provide considerable background 
on relations among the SS, Abwehr, and Greek collaborators. See “Annex No. 
Ill: Invasion Nets in Allied Occupied Countries,” “Consolidated Interrogation 
Report (CIR) No. 4, Subject: The German Sabotage Service,” July 23, 1945 
(confidential), for interrogation of Skorzeny and his adjutant Radi, and the 
attached “Consolidated Interrogation Report (CIR) No. 13, Subject: Asts in the 
Balkans.” pp. 5-8, 17-18; both of which are in Entry 179, Box 739, Enemy 
POW Interrogation File MIS-Y, 1943-1945, RG 165, NA. 

3. On Papadopoulos, Natsinas, and Gogoussis, see McDonald, op. cit. On Secret 
Army Reserve, see “Joint Outline War Plans for Determination of Mobiliza¬ 
tion Requirements for War Beginning 1 July 1949,” Joint Strategic Plans Com¬ 
mittee, JSPC 891/6. See particularly annex to Appendix “E,” pp. 34, 42-43, 
and Office of Chief of Naval Operations Enclosure “A,” n.d. (top secret) in 
P&O 370.1 TS (Case 7, Part IA, Sub Nos. 13), RG 319, Records of the Army 
Staff, NA. For later reporting from a critical perspective on CIA activities in 
Greece, see Yiannis Roubatis and Karen Wynn, “CIA Operations in Greece,” 
and Philip Agee, “The American Factor in Greece: Old and New,” both in 



308 Source Notes 


Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, eds.. Dirty Work: The CIA in Weste rn Europe ? 
(Secaucus, N.J.: Lyle Stuart, 1978), parHcu!arI>rpri54fl^ 

4. Kennan vol. I, pp. 294-95 (“Communist conspiracy”). Kennan’s account of the 
Long Telegram and its results appears on pp. 271-97. For background on 
controversy surrounding State Department-White House disputes over policy 
toward the USSR prior to World War II, see “Ah, Sweet Intrigue! Or, Who 
Axed State’s Prewar Soviet Division?,” Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene 
(October 1984), p. 1. 

5. Newsweek quote: “The Story Behind Our Russian Policy,” Newsweek (July 21, 
1947), pp. 15-17. Kennan quote is from the well-known “Mr. X” article: “Mr. 
X” (George F. Kennan), “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” Foreign Affairs 
(July 1947). See also Kennan vol. /, pp. 354-67, on the “Mr. X” article gener¬ 
ally. For contemporary profiles noting key role of George Kennan and Charles 
Bohlen in formulation of U.S. policy during the early cold war, see the News¬ 
week article, above, and “Messrs. Bohlen and Kennan, Authors of Firm Policy 
to Russia,” U.S. News b World Report (August 8, 1947), p. 50£f. See also Yergin, 
op. cit., pp. 163-92, and Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men 
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986), pp. 347-85. 

6. Kennan vol. /, p. 359. 

7. On role in propaganda programs, see Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 14-15. On role 
in guerrilla warfare programs, see Joint Strategic Plans Committee, JSPC 
862/3 and JSPC 891/6. For a similar operation involving Finnish soldiers who 
volunteered for anti-Communist guerrilla operations, see Kennan correspon¬ 
dence with Gruenther, April 27, 1948 (secret), P&O 091.714 TS (Section I, 
Case 1), all at RG 319, NA. 

8. JSPC 862/3 and JSPC 891/6. 

9. Kennan vol /, p. 81. 

10. Ibid., p. 81. For background on this point, see also Charles Bohlen, Witness to 
History (New York, W. W. Norton, 1973), p. 7Iff., and Paul Blackstock, The 
Se cret R oad to World War II (Chicago: Quadrangle, lS§9^pp^256-57 and* 
310—11, hereTRafter^fEed^aTBlackstock, Secret Road. 

11. Herwarth, op. cit., pp. 75, 77, 80, and photo section; Bohlen, op. cit., p. 67ff.; 
Charles Thayer, Bears in the Caviar (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1951), p. 
28ff., Thayers, Hands , p. 183ff; Isaacson and Thomas, op. cit., pp. 175-77. 

12. Thayer, Hands , p. 185. Herwarth also told Thayer during his 1945 interroga¬ 
tion that he had played a major, heroic role in von Stauffenberg’s July 20,1944, 
plot against Hitler. Thayer appears to have accepted Herwarth’s account 
without question, and eventually published it in Hands , pp. 196-200. Other 
postwar accounts from conspirators who survived the July 20th affair or from 
historians who have studied the matter closely do not support Herwarth’s (and 
Thayer’s) claim that he played a substantial role in the plot. On this point, see, 
for example, Hans Bernd Gisevius, To the Bitter End , tr. Richard and Clara 
Winston (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1947), p. 490ff.; Peter Hoffmann, The 
History of the German Resistance , 1933-1945 , tr. Richard Barry (Cambridge, 
Mass.: MIT Press, 1979) pp. 397-535; Allen Dulles, Germany y s Underground 
(New York: Macmillan, 1947); Hans Royce, ed., 20 Juli 1944 (Bonn: Heraus- 
gegeben von der Bundeszentrale fur Heimztdienst, 1953); or Hans-Adolf 
Jacobsen, ed .> July 20 \ 1944 , German Opposition to Hitler (Bonn: Press and 



Source Notes 309 


Information Office of the Federal Government [of Germany], 1969). The Ge¬ 
stapo’s massive contemporary investigation of the July 20th conspiracy also 
failed to turn up enough evidence against Herwarth to cause the police agency 
to bring him in for questioning. 

13. Herwarth, op. cit., pp. 352-53. 

14. Ibid., p. 353ff. (on Herwarth); Strik-Strikfeldt, op. cit., p. 238 (on Kostring and 
Hilger); Trials of War Criminals , vol. XI, pp. 600-01 (on Hilger in United 
States). 

15. Kerman vol. /, pp. 175 and 177. 

16. Ibid., p. 179. 

17. Isaacson and Thomas, op. cit., p. 448. 

18. Griffiths memo to Francis Cardinal Spellman, March 4, 1948, cited in John 
Cooney, op. cit., p. 159. 

19. Ibid., p. 159ff., with Cardinal Tisserant statement on pp. 159-60 and Spellman 
quote drawn from undated Spellman memo to the Vatican concerning his 
meeting with Secretary of State George Marshall noted on p. 161. 

20. On role of Exchange Stabilization Fund as funding source for clandestine 
operations: William Corson interview, March 26, 1984; Bokor interview, June 
9, 1984, and Corson, op. cit, p. 299. For background and history of fund, see 
“Memo to Secretary [of the Treasury John] Snyder from F. A. Southard, Sub¬ 
ject: History and Present Status of Exchange Stabilization Fund, 12/14/47,” 
and similar studies titled simply “Exchange Stabilization Fund” dated Decem¬ 
ber 1948, December 14, 1949, March 1950, January 1951, Office of the Assist¬ 
ant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury; cop¬ 
ies in collection of the author. Annual unclassified accounts of fund activity 
which establish the fund’s size but conceal its clandestine role are available in 
the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury , for 1947, 1948, 1949. On 
the fund’s relationship to the Safehaven program and captured Nazi loot, see 
Elimination of German Resources for War ; Hearings before the Committee 
on Military Affairs, U.S. Senate, June 25, 1945, pt. 2, pp. 135-36; Change of 
Status Record , Title: Records of the Office of Economic Security Policy and 
Records of the Division of Economic Security Controls , both 1945-1947, NA; 
and contemporary draft of Safehaven historical summary hand-titled “Safe- 
haven History” (Department of the Treasury, 1946?), copy in collection of 
author. 

21. William Colby, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA (New York: Simon & 
Schuster, 1978), p. 115. For account of CIA role in Italian elections generally, 
see Corson, op. cit, pp. 295-301, with information on money laundering on p. 
299. During 1975 the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on 
Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis Pike, prepared a highly critical 
report on CIA clandestine activities, including the secret financing of selected 
Italian political candidates and labor leaders over a thirty-five-year period. The 
CIA and the White House succeeded in suppressing the official publication of 
this study, but the document was leaked to the media and published in special 
supplements to the Village Voice on February 16 and February 22, 1976. See 
p. 86 of the February 16 “Special Supplement: The CIA Report the President 
Doesn’t Want You to Read” for further discussion of agency intervention in 
the Italian elections. 



310 Source Notes 


22. On Rauff, see Ralph Blumenthal, “New Charges Made on Nazi,” New York 
Times , May 10, 1984, and particularly SS Col Walter Rauff: The Church 
Connection 1943-1947 (Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center Investigative 
Report, May 1984), which includes copies of documentation concerning 
Rauff s crimes against humanity, his role in Operation Sunrise, and Bicchierai’s 
part in RaufFs escape. See also U.S. Army INSCOM Dossier No XE 216719 
I9B001, “Rauff, Walter,” for data on his arrest and escape from U.S. custody; 
and unnumbered INSCOM dossier on Operation Circle (obtained via FOIA) 
concerning church role in mass escape of German and Italian Fascist prisoners 
from Rimini POW camp, 1946. The extradition of Rauff from Chile was a 
major campaign of the Wiesenthal Center until RaufFs death in May 1984. See, 
for example, press statement “Nazi Criminals in Latin America,” from Doku- 
mentationszentrum des Bundes Judischer Verfolgter des Naziregimes, 
Vienna, April 7, 1983. 

For Allen Dulles’s own account of RaufFs role in Operation Sunrise, see 
Allen Welsh Dulles, The Secret Surrender (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 
pp. 66, 83, 102, 107, and 192-93. For text of telegram discussed in footnote, 
see Jack D. Neal to USPOLAD, Berlin, September 17, 1947, at 740.00116 
EW/8-1147 Secret File (top secret, no distribution), RG 59, NA, Washington, 
D.C. For postwar data on Dollman, Schellenberg, and Wolff, see Hilberg, op. 
cit., pp. 705, 713, and 715; and on Wolff: “SS-General Wolff gestorben/’Fran/:- 
furter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 17, 1984. 

23. Cooney, op. cit., p. 160. 

24. For Mickelson comment regarding Kennan, see Mickelson, op. cit., p. 14. 


Chapter Eight 

1. Robert Bishop and E. S. Crayfield, Russia Astride the Balkans (New York: 
McBride & Co., 1948), p. 264ff., with quote on p. 266. 
r 2. Full text of NSC 20/1 is available in Thomas Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis, 
eds., Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy 1945-1950 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), p. 173ff. 

For Kennan’s pivotal role in the creation of American clandestine action 
capabilities during this period, discussed in the text, see Church Committee 
Report , Book IV, pp. 29-31; Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 14-19; and Corson, op. cit, 
pp. 294-95 and 302-07. 

3. NSC 20/1, quoted in Etzold and Gaddis, op. cit., pp. 176, 180, 190, 192, and 

201 . 

4. For basic documentation on Bloodstone, including its cover story, see “Utiliza¬ 
tion of Native Anti-Communist Elements in Non-Western Hemisphere Coun¬ 
tries Outside the Iron Curtain in the Interest of the United States,” State, 
Army, Navy, Air Force Coordinating Committee (SANACC) 395 Document 
10, undated (May 1948?, top secret). On assignment of Bloodstone as a code 
word for the project, see Document 28, June 18, 1948 (top secret). These 

-records are now available through Scholarly Resources’ microfilm edition of 

State, War, Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) and SANACC records. 
See Martin P. Claussen and Evelyn B. Claussen, Numerical Catalog and Al¬ 
pha betical Index for State- Wa r-Navy Coordina ting Com mittee and State- 
Army-Navy-Air Force Coordinating Committee Case Files 1944-1949 (Wil- 



Source Notes 311 


mington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1978), for a guide to these record 
collections. The document numbers noted here refer to the document num¬ 
bers on the “List of Papers” which accompanies the original SANACC 395 
dossier and which is reproduced in the microfilm collection. New SANACC 
395 records, obtained by the author via the FOIA and not available in the 
microfilm collection, are noted separately. 

5. On Wisner’s role, see “Utilization of Refugees,” Policy Planning Staff policy 
paper PPS 22/1, Department of State, March 4, 1948 (secret), and Wisner 
memo, March 17, 1948 (secret), both cited in SANACC document registers as 
SANACC 395 Document 1, March 4, 1948 (secret). On Lovett’s role, see 
SANACC Document 13, May 26, 1948, and Saltzman memo to Lovett, May 
27, 1948 (top secret). 

6. SANACC 395, March 17, 1948, “Utilization of Refugees from the USSR in the 
U.S, National Interest” (secret), Document 2, pp. 1,5, and 6. See also SANACC 
Document 12, May 25, 1948, Gardiner memo to Bohlen, Armstrong, etc. (top 
secret) and May 27, 1948, Saltzman memo (top secret), both in microfilm 
collection; and September 22, 1948, memo from Stone to Mosely re: SANACC 
395/1 (top secret), obtained by author through the FOIA. 

7. SANACC 395 Document 10, “Utilization of Native Anti-Communist Elements 
in Non-Western Hemisphere Countries Outside the Iron Curtain in the Inter¬ 
est of the United States,” undated, (May 1948?, top secret); SANACC Secretary 
H. W. Moseley to Executive Secretary NSC, June 10, 1948, SANACC 395 
Document 23. 

8. JSPC 862/3 (Revised) August 2,1948 (top secret), p. 5 (on relation to SANACC 
395 and 396); Appendix “C,” p. 35 (on SANACC 395 and 396 recruits for 
“special operations”); and Appendix “C,” p. 27 (“special operations” defined) 
at P&O 352 TS (Section 1, Case 1), RG 319, NA. 

Brief notes on Franklin Lindsay’s career, mentioned in footnote, may be 
found in Smith, OSS , p. 161. Lindsay’s role in the early proposals for training 
anti-Communist emigres is noted in the JSPC 862 records noted above, enclo¬ 
sure “B.” 

9. JSPC 891/6, “Joint Outline War Plans for Determination of Mobilization Re¬ 
quirements for War Beginning 1 July 1949,” September 17, 1948 (top secret), 
p. 36, “Psychological Warfare.” For country-by-country review, see Tab “B,” 
p. 39ff., with quoted portion at p. 40. Document is at P&O 370.1 TS (Case 7, 
Part IA, Sub Nos. 13), RG 319, NA. 

10. NSC 10/2, loc. cit., or see Church Committee Report , Book IV, pp. 29-31. 

11. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA 
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979), pp. 37-39. 

12. John Paton Davies interview, November 23, 1983. 

13. Church Committee Report, Book IV, p. 30. 

14. W. Park Armstrong memorandum to Kennan, Davies, Saltzman, Thompson, 
and Humelsine, subject: “Refugee Problem and SANACC 395,” November 8, 
1948 (top secret), obtained through the FOIA. 

Armstrong comments: Armstrong interview, June 17,1983. Armstrong died 
on June 2, 1985; see “W. Park Armstrong Jr.,” Washington Post , June 6, 1985, 
p. C12, for obituary. 

SANACC 395 and 396 were removed as “Agenda Items” from SANACC 



312 Source Notes 


Committee consideration shortly after the approval of SANACC 395 and NSC 
10/2 in June 1948. As this memorandum clearly shows, however, these pro¬ 
jects were by no means canceled; they were simply pushed under a deeper 
security cover, primarily inside Wisner’s OPC. 

15. For discussion of Bloodstone and Congress, see Charles Saltzman to Robert 
Lovett, May 17, 1948 (top secret), also cited as SWNCC 395 Document 14; and 
Charles Bohlen to Moseley, August 30, 1948 (top secret). For Charles Thayer’s 
role in the approach to Congress and particularly in dealing with the problem of 
potential “sour apples” among the immigrants, see SANACC 395 memos dated 
September 22 and 20,1948 (top secret), both obtained via FOIA from NA. 

16. Church Committee Report , Book IV, p. 31. 

17. “If an occasion arose” quote: Ibid., p. 31. “Dismay” quote: Yergin, op. cit., p. 
284. 

18. Church Committee Report , Book IV, p. 31. 


Chapter Nine 

1. Tom Clark: SANACC 395 memo, June 10, 1948 (top secret); W. Park Arm¬ 
strong: Armstrong memorandum to Kennan, Davies, Saltzman, Thompson, 
and Humelsine, November 8, 1948 (top secret); both obtained through FOIA 
request. John Earman: SANA 6045, “Appointment of an Ad Hoc Committee,” 
April 26, 1948 (secret), SANACC 395 Document 9; on Earman’s later role at 
CIA, see “John S. Earman Jr., 60,” obituary, Washington Post , April 11, 1974. 
On Boris Pash, see SANA 6045, “Appointment of an Ad Hoc Committee,” 
April 26, 1948 (secret), SANACC 395 Document 9. On Pash’s work for OPC, 
see Church Committee Report , Book IV, pp. 128-32. 

Future ambassadors to the USSR involved in either planning or implement¬ 
ing SANACC 395 were George F. Kennan, Charles Bohlen, and Llewellyn 
Thompson; the VOA director was Charles Thayer; the future Radio Free 
Europe director was Howland H. Sargeant. The State Department’s intelli¬ 
gence and policy apparatus was represented in Bloodstone planning or im¬ 
plementation by W. Park Armstrong (director of the Office of Intelligence and 
Research—INR), Evron Kirkpatrick (later deputy director of INR), George 
Fearing (director of intelligence collection and dissemination), and John D. 
Hickerson and Francis Stevens (both of the Office of Eastern European 
Affairs). 

For a more complete picture of Bloodstone personalities and the role they 
played in the creation of this program, see the original documentation in 
Scholarly Resources microfilm SANACC file, cited above. For documentation 
on characterization of Bloodstone mentioned in text, see Chapter Eight. 

2. “If practicable” quote: SANA 6083, dated May 25 and June 4,1948 (top secret), 
SANACC Document 12. “Attorney General” quote: SANACC 395 memo, 
September 20, 1948 (top secret), obtained via FOIA from NA. For other 
Bloodstone documentation concerning Boyd, see SANA 6024, April 15, 1948 
(secret), also cited as SANACC 395 Document 8; SANA 6107, Attorney Gen¬ 
eral to Moseley, June 17, 1948 (secret); and SANA 6156, July 7, 1948 (top 
secret). For other data on Boyd’s career: Immigration and Naturalization Serv¬ 
ice internal publication INS Information Bulletin (July-August 1973), and 
John Boyd interviews, May 27 and August 11, 1983. 



Source Notes 313 


3. “Summary of Provisions of the Displaced Persons Act of 1948,” IRO [Interna¬ 
tional Refugee Organization] News Digest , No. 13 (June 30, 1948), p. 6. 

4. For Alexander’s relationship to Bloodstone, see “State Department Im¬ 
plementation of SANACC 395/1,” Gardiner to Hummelsine, June 10, 1948 
(top secret), obtained through FOIA. For coverage of Alexander’s testimony 
and the subsequent controversy discussed in footnote, see “Subversive Agents 
Believed in U.S. Under Wing of U.N.,” July 21, 1948; “Marshall Knows No 
Agents in U.N.,” July 22, 1948; “Those U.N. Communists” (editorial), July 24, 
1948; “Vindication for the U.N.” (editorial), August 28, 1948; “U.N. Spy 
Charges Called Baseless,” September 2, 1948; “State Department Accuses 
Visa Aide,” September 16, 1948; “U.S. Aide Threatens Suit,” October 5, 1948; 
“Alexander Is Reprimanded for Charging Subversives Entered Country 
Through U.N.,” October 22, 1948, all of which appeared in the New York 
Times. For Alexander’s 1960 comments, see “Problem of Refugees” (letter), 
New York Times ; December 11, 1960. Report of Alexander’s death is based on 
Dennis Hayes (president, Foreign Service Association) interview, July S', 1983. 

5. Quoted comments from Kirkpatrick and Penniman from Evron Kirkpatrick 
interview, November 10, 1983, and Howard Penniman interview, November 
10, 1983. Kirkpatrick’s relationship to Bloodstone is established at “State De¬ 
partment Implementation of SANACC 395/1.” For basic biographic informa¬ 
tion on Kirkpatrick, see Contemporary Authors , vol. 57-60, p. 321, and Bio¬ 
graphic Directory of the American Political Science Association for 1968 and 
1973. For critical statements mentioned in footnote, see Robert Walters, 
“Kirkpatrick Organization Linked to CIA Fund Outlets,” Washington Star ; 
February 19, 1967; Robert Sherrill, “The Professor and the CIA,” Nation 
(February 27, 1967). “On Quoting The Nation,’ ” Washington Star ; March 3, 
1967 (Kirkpatrick’s reply); Tom Lewis and John Freidman, “Is USIA Sponsor¬ 
ing a Hidden Curriculum?,” Harper's Weekly (June 14, 1976); Allen Boyce 
(pseudonym), “The Market for Potted Expertise,” Nation (November 11, 
1978). 

6. The criteria are drawn from the following: “Entry of Alien Specialists,” Kirlin 
to Bohlen, August 2, 1948 (top secret), SANACC microfilm records; “State 
Department Implementation of SANACC 395/1”; Armstrong memo to Ken- 
nan, Davies, etc.; and SANACC 395/1, “Utilization of Refugees from the 
Soviet Union in the U.S. National Interest,” May 25, 1948 (top secret). 

7. “Operational Situation Report USSR No. 11,” March 1 to March 31, 1942, 
Einsatzgruppen report, Prosecution Exhibit 13, Trials of War Criminals , loc. 
cit, vol. IV, pp. 188-91. 

Hilger’s own brief presentation of his wartime role is in Gustav Hilger and 
Alfred G. Meyer, The Incompatible Allies: A Memoir-History of German- 
Soviet Relations 1918-1941 (New York: Macmillan, 1953), p. 338, which is an 
English-language adaption of Gustav Hilger, Wir und der Kreml , Deutsch- 
sowietische Beziehungen 1918-1941 (Frankfurt am Main: Metzner, 1955). 
Allen Dulles, then U.S. OSS chief in Bern, Switzerland, cabled to Washington 
in mid-1944 that “on Russian affairs . . . Ribbentrop listens mainly to Hilger.” 
See “Bern to OSS,” July 19, 1944, Washington Section R&C 78, Bern, June 1, 
1944, to July 31, 1944, Entry 134, Box 276, RG 226, NA. 

8. The Hungarian incident is discussed in captured Nazi correspondence dated 



314 


Source Notes 


January 27, 1944, reproduced in Randolph Braham, The Destruction of Hun¬ 
garian Jewry: A Documentary Account (New York: World Federation of Hun¬ 
garian Jews, 1963), pp. 122-24. The reproduced file is Nuremberg evidence 
document NG 2594. 

9. Data on Hilger’s role in the Nazi Foreign Office and the murder of Italian Jews 
are found in Hilberg, op. cit., pp. 351 and 432-33; Nuremberg document 
NG-5026, “Hilger to Group Inland II”; and Charles Allen, “Nazi War Crimi¬ 
nals Living Among Us f Jewish Currents January 1963), pp. 5-9. For a con¬ 
temporary OSS documentation of the role of the Foreign Ministry in the 
deportation of Italian Jews, see “Bern to OSS,” December 30, 1943 (KAPPA 
series), Washington Sect. R&C 78, Entry 134, Folder 3, Box 274, RG 226, NA. 

10. Dallin, German Rule , pp. 505 and 635; see also Fischer, op. cit., pp. 26, 137. 

11. Hilger’s CROWCASS entry is found on p. 168, Box 1719, RG 153, NA, Suitland, 
Md., a copy of which is in the author’s collection. 

12. Strik-Strikfeldt, op. cit., p. 238 (seen in Mannheim POW camp); and Trials of 
War Criminals , loc. cit., vol. XI, pp. 600-01, April 17, 1946 (in United States 
during Nuremberg trials). 

The FBI, in response to several FOIA inquiries filed by the author, revealed 
thaTit KoI3s at least twelve dossiers concerning HfigeFs activities in the United 
States, including one acknowledging his role as an FBI informant (in 1950) and 
a second so secret that even its file numbeFremains^lassifiedrDT the fragmen¬ 
tary information that the bureau did declassify, the most interesting is the 
record of its interrogations of Hilger dated November 22 and December 8, 
1948, summarizing his work for the German government. There is no indica¬ 
tion that the bureau inquired into Hilger’s role in the Holocaust. The Depart¬ 
ment of State has also declassified a fragmentary collection of records concern¬ 
ing Hilger, most of which date from the late 1970s. Copies in the author’s 
collection. 

13. Telegram traffic concerning Hilger’s 1948 transit into the United States in¬ 
cludes: Berlin to Washington dispatch marked “Personal for Kennan,” 
862.00/9-2548, September 25, 1948 (top secret); Heidelberg to Washington 
dispatch marked “For Kennan,” 862.00/9-2748, September 27, 1948 (top 
secret), which suggests use of false identities; Washington to Heidelberg, 
862.00/9-2848, September 28, 1948 (top secret); Heidelberg to Washington, 
862.00/9-3048, September 30, 1948 (top secret), all of which are found in 
RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. 

On this point, see also U.S. Army INSCOM dossier concerning Hilger, No. 
XE-00-17-8016A045, which the author obtained via an FOIA request from the 
Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Document 46 in that 
dossier, “350.09: Transmittal of Classified Personal [illegible],” October 19, 
1948 (confidential), notes that “Gen. Walsh or George Kennan State Depart¬ 
ment should be contacted in case of difficulty” during Hilger’s travel to the 
United States. Document 37 of the same dossier (“subject: Background Investi¬ 
gation, HILGER, Gustav, 25 July 1951”) indicates Hilger was issued nonimmi¬ 
grant Visa No. 324 at the U.S. Consulate in Munich on October 6, 1948. 

For subcommittee specializing in false identification for Bloodstone emigres 
discussed in footnote, see “Utilization of Refugees,” SANACC 395/1, May 25, 
1948 (top secret), pp. 11-16, with quote from p. 16. 



Source Notes 315 


14. Poppe interview, October 26, 1984. 

On Eurasian Institute role in employing former Nazis mentioned in foot¬ 
note, see cable “For Offie from Davies,” May 27,1948 (secret) 800.43 Eurasian 
Institute/5-2748 secret file; “From Tehran to Secretary of State, attention 
John Davies,” re: Ulus and Sunsh, July 27, 1948 (secret), 800.43 Eurasian 
Institute/7-2748 secret file; “Department of State to AMEMBASSY, Tehran,” 
re: Sunsh, July 27,1948 (secret), 800.43 Eurasian Institute/7-2748; “For Davies 
from Dooher,” re: Ulus, August 12, 1948 (secret), 800.43 Eurasian Institute/ 
8-1248; “Department of State to AMEMBASSY, Athens,” initialed by Kennan, 
October 12, 1948 (secret), 800.43 Eurasion (sic) Institute/10-1248; etc. All in 
RG 59, NA. 

15. On Hilger’s relationship with Bohlen and the Office of National Estimates, see 
Bohlen, op. cit, p. 292; and Meyer interview. See also Church Committee 
Report, Book IV, pp. 18-19 re: early days of Office of National Estimates and 
its role. 

16. Kennan correspondence, August 12, 1982; see also “Help for Nazis Held Notj 

Unusual,” New York Times, February 20, 1983. 1 

17. For “stigma” comment: Meyer interview, December 30, 1983; see Hilger and 
Meyer, op. cit., pp. viii-ix for data on “generous grant.” Kennan’s role in 
obtaining Hilger’s security clearance is found in Hilger’s U.S. Army INSCOM 
file no. 84066.3224, also numbered as INSCOM dossier XE 001780 D 20A042 
(secret), Document 15, 51-52. A number of records implicating Hilger in 
crimes against humanity had, in fact, been introduced as evidence in war 
crimes trials at Nuremberg, though there is no indication that they were 
reviewed prior to Hilger’s being granted a security clearance; see, for exam¬ 
ple, Nuremberg evidence documents NG 2594 and NG 5026, noted above. 

18. On Hilberg’s protest and 1962 incident with Charles Allen, see Allen, op. cit. 
Hilger’s death: Letter to author from Christoph Brummer, press counselor, 
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, September 4, 1984. 

19. Poppe, op. cit., pp. 163-64. 

20. Ibid., pp. 165-66. On the Judeo-Tats, see also Rudolph Lowenthal, “The Judeo- 
Tats of the Caucasus,” Historia Judaica, vol. XIV (1952), p. 6Iff. 

21. For a surviving example of a Wannsee study, see Wannsee Institute, op. cit. 
On activities and staffing of the Wannsee Institute, including Poppe’s role, see 
Records of the Reich Leader of the SS and Chief of the German Police, loc. 
cit., Roll 456, Frame 2972093ff., for correspondence, security passes, lists of 
employees, etc., from the institute. 

22. Records of the Reich Leader of the SS and Chief of the German Police, loc. 
cit., Roll 455, Frame 2971560ff., for documentation concerning Wannsee’s 
role in the looting of libraries and bookdealers; and Roll 457, Frame 2973523ff, 
for Amt VI-G correspondence concerning use of concentration camp inmates 
for custodial work. 

Poppe’s comments: Poppe interviews, October 26 and December 4, 1984, 
and Poppe, op. cit., pp. 170 and 174-75. 

23. Poppe, op. cit., pp. 170 and 175-76. 

24. Rodes memo to DDI Frankfurt, May 22, 1947 (top secret), copy in author’s 
collection. On Poppe’s work for British and American agencies: Poppe, op. cit., 
pp. 191, 193-96, and 197-98. 



316 Source Notes 


25. State Department records concerning Popped immigration may be found at: 
“For [Carmel] Offie from [John Paton] Davies,” 800.4016 DP/3-848, March 8, 
1948 (secret); “For Offie from Davies,” 893.00 Mongolia/3-1848, March 18, 
1948 (secret); “For [James] Riddleberger from [George] Kennan,” 861.00/10- 
2248, October 22, 1948 (secret—sanitized); “Personal for Kennan from Rid¬ 
dleberger,” 861.00/11-248, November 2, 1948 (secret—sanitized); and “Per¬ 
sonal for Riddleberger from Kennan,” 800.4016 DP/5-449, May 3, 1949 
(secret), signed also by Robert Joyce, all at RG 59, NA. The sanitized correspon¬ 
dence was obtained through the FOIA. 

On Poppe’s immigration, also: author’s interviews with Poppe, October 26 
and December 4, 1984; Davies, November 28, 1983; and Evron Kirkpatrick, 
November 10, 1983. 

Poppe’s U.S. Army INSCOM file is available via the FOIA and is No. 84107. 
3224. For British Foreign Office correspondence on the Poppe affair, see 
British Foreign Office: Russia Correspondence 1946-1948, F. O. 371 (mi¬ 
crofilm collection of British records), Scholarly Resources, Wilmington, Del., 
1982, particularly 1946 File 911, Document 12867, p. 80ff., and 1946 File 
3365, Document 9647, p. 22ff. It is interesting to note that U.S. Political 
Adviser in Germany James Riddleberger, who played a role in the escape of 
Klaus Barbie, was directly involved in arranging Poppe’s immigration to the 
* United States. (Riddleberger is deceased.) Robert Joyce, who assisted in the 
American end of the transit arrangements, also played a key role in the immi¬ 
gration of Albanian emigres with backgrounds as Nazi collaborators; see 
source note 34, below. 

An account of Poppe’s immigration to the United States, including a direct 
admission that “a U.S. intelligence agency” sponsored his resettlement in this 
country, appears in Nazis and Axis Collaborators Were Used to Further U.S. 
Anti-Communist Objectives in Europe—Some Immigrated to the United 
States, report by the Comptroller General of the United States, U.S. General 
Accounting Office, June 28, 1985, p. 35. This report, prepared by GAO investi¬ 
gator John Tipton following limited access to CIA records, neither names 
Poppe nor identifies the intelligence agency that sponsored him. The anony¬ 
mous “Subject E” of Tipton’s report, however, is without a doubt Poppe, 
and the agency is the CIA. This study is hereinafter cited as 1985 GAO 
Report. 

26. Poppe interview, October 26, 1984; see also Poppe, op. cit., pp. 199-200. 

27. For a brief official biography on Poppe, see Directoru of Amer ican^Scholars^ 

1974 edition, p. 368, and The Writers Director u _ 198 2-198 4. p. 754, which 

discusses Poppe’s literary accomplishments. A Russian-language interview 
with Poppe concerning his career is available at the Hoover Institution at^ 
Stanford University. See also Arista Maria Cirtautas,^NtcHolas Poppe, aTSTbli- 
ography of Publications from 1924 to 1977,” Parerga (Seattle, Wash.: Univer¬ 
sity of Washington, Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies, 1977), 
for an extensive bibliography of Poppe’s work, which is unfortunately silent 
on Poppe’s production for the SS, British, and American intelligence agencies. 
Poppe’s own account is in Poppe, op. cit., p. 199ff. 

28. For Poppe’s testimony on Owen Lattimore, see “Institute of Pacific Rela¬ 
tions,” Hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of 



Source Notes 317 


the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws , U.S. Senate, 82nd 
Congress, February 12, 1952, pp. 2691-2707, 2724-31, with quoted passages 
on pp. 2725-26. For overviews of Lattimore case, see Oshinsky, op. cit., 
p. 136ff., and Caute, op. cit., p. 317ff. See also C. P. Trussell, “Senate Unit Calls 
Lattimore Agent of Red Conspiracy/’ New York Times , July 3, 1952, p. 1. For 
Poppe’s statements concerning Lattimore’s role in opposing Poppe’s immigra¬ 
tion, see Poppe, op. cit., pp. 191, 197, and 214-16. 

29. Poppe interview, December 4, 1984. 

30. Ibid. For points discussed in footnote, 1985 GAO Report , p. 35, and U.S. 
Department of Justice Criminal Division correspondence re: FOIA request 
CRM-11132-F, January 9, 1986. 

31. “Axis Supporters Enlisted by U.S. in Postwar Role,” New York Times , June 20, 

1982. t u&g 

32. Joyce memo: “Robert Joyce to Walworth Barbour,” 875.00/5-1249, May 12, 
1949 (top secret), RG 59, NA. Background information on Robert Joyce may 
be found in his obituary, which appeared in the Washington Post , February 
10, 1984. 

On character of Albanian collaboration, see OSS R&A report L38836, “Al¬ 
bania: Political and Internal Conditions,” July 10, 1944 (secret), which states 
in part that “Xhafer Deva, Rexhep Mitrovic and Midhat Frasheri are with the 
Germans.... Anti-Semitic measures are being adopted now,” RG 226, NA. See 
also “Axis Supporters Enlisted by U.S. in Postwar Role,” loc. cit., and Hilberg, 
op. cit., pp. 451 and 451n, 

33. Dosti comment: “Axis Supporters Enlisted by U.S. in Postwar Role,” loc. cit. 
On Assembly of Captive European Nations funding by CIA through Radio 
Free Europe: Price, op. cit., pp. CRS 9-10, and see Chapter 1, source note 9, 
for further documentation. On Philby’s role: Bruce Page et al., The Philby 
Conspiracy (New York: Signet, 1969), pp. 177-89, and Kim Philby, My Silent 
War (New York, Ballantine, 1983), pp. 155-65. 


Chapter Ten 

1. On origins of RFE and RL, see Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 11-22, 59-75; David 
Wise and Thomas Ross, The Invisible Gove rnment (New York: Vintage/Ran¬ 
dom House, 1964), p. 326ff.; Marchetti and Marks, op. cit., pp. 174-78; and 
Cord Meyer .Facing Reality (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), pp. 110-38. On 
the CIA’s controlling role in RFE and RL throughout the cold war, see also 
John Crewdson and Joseph Treaster, “Worldwide Propaganda Network Built 
by the CIA,” New York Times , December 26, 1977, p. 1; “Defector Had Job 
Tied to CIA,” Washington Post , September 15, 1966; “Help for Radio Free 
Europe,” Washington Post , February 5, 1966; “CIA Cash Linked to Broad¬ 
casts,” Washington Post , March 12, 1970; “Ban Sought on CIA Aid for Radio 
Free Europe,” New York Times, January 24, 1971; Michael Getler, “CIA Runs 
Radio Free Europe, Ex-Employee Says in Prague,” Washington Post, January 
31, 1976. 

2. Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 14-17. Mickelson identifies the source of the first $2 
million of National Committee for a Free Europe funds (plus printing presses, 
propaganda balloons, etc.) as Frank Wisner’s OPC, which in turn had inherited 
that “nest egg,” as Mickelson puts it, from the Special Projects Group (SPG), 



318 Source Notes 


the institutional umbrella for the $10 million in U.S. clandestine funding al¬ 
located for manipulation of the Italian election. Mickelson does not discuss 
where the SPG got its funds, however. For details on that point, see Chapter 
Seven, source note 20. 

3. For Carey comment, see New York Herald Tribune , January 29, 1950, and 
Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais, Labor's Untold Story (New York: United 
Electrical Radio & Machine Workers^oT A meHcaTPub fishing Division, 1973), 
p. 362. On Kennan’s role in creating the NCFE board, see Mickelson, op. cit., 
pp. 14-15. On early NCFE board members, see Price, op cit., p. CRS-7, and 
National Committee for a Free Europe, President's Report for the Year 1954 
(New York: National Committee for a Free Europe, 1954). The most complete 
presentation of backgrounds and careers of early NCFE directors available at 
present is in Collins, op. cit., p. 362ff. Mickelson offers a useful table of key 
NCFE and American Committee for Liberation personalities on p. 257ff. For 
roles of Yarrow, Grace, and Heinz, see Comptroller General of the United 
States, U.S. Government Monies Provided to Radio Free Europe and Radio 
Liberty, General Accounting Office Report No. 72-0501, (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1972) pp. 79-81 and 109. 

4. Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 18, 20. 

5. James Burnham, Containment or Liberation? (New York: John Day Co., 1953), 
p. 188. For Burnham’s relationship with OPC, see Smith, OSS, p. 367. For 
official, but sanitized, funding estimates, see also Comptroller General of the 
United States, US. Government Monies Provided to Radio Free Europe and 
Radio Liberty , loc. cit. 

6. The historythe various corporate.. cove rs employe d_by the OPC and the^CIA 
foeonceaT their relationship^wJtTTRFE, RL, and other psychological warfare 
programs is_ complex . 

The corporate parent of the agency’s Eastern European broadcasting arm, 
for example, has variously been called the Committee for a Free Europe 
(1948-1949); the National Committee for a Free Europe (1949-1954); the Free 
Europe Committee, Inc. (1954-1976); and, finally, RFE/RL, Inc. (1976- ). 
Each of these companies had a broadcasting division named Radio Free 
Europe (circa 1950- ). 

The CIA’s parallel effort aimed at the USSR has included the American 
Institute for the Study of the USSR (1950); Institute for the Study of the History 
and Culture of the Soviet Union (1950); American Committee for the Freedom 
of the Peoples of the USSR (1951); American Committee for the Liberation of 
the Peoples of Russia, Inc. (1951-1953); and American Committee for Libera¬ 
tion from Bolshevism, also often known as AMCOMLIB (1953-1956). The 
latter had officially changed its name to Radio Liberation, Inc. by 1963, al¬ 
though correspondence from 1956 to 1963 indicates that the parent company 
also did business as AMCOMLIB, Inc. during that time. Next came the Radio 
Liberty Committee (1963-1976). The radio broadcasting arm of this operation 
was variously known as the Radio Station of the Coordinating Center of Anti- 
Bolshevik Struggle (1953); Radio Liberation from Bolshevism (1953-1956); 
Radio Liberation (1956-1963); and Radio Liberty (1963- ). 

The Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty organizations finally merged into 
RFE/RL, Inc. in 1976. The author has attempted to simplify references in the 



Source Notes 319 

text to these changing corporate cover entities as much as possible for clarity’s 
sake. 

On clandestine CIA funding of edu cational an dcharjtable foundations men* 
tionedfabove in the text, see “Groups Channeling, Receiving Assistance from 
CIA,” Congressiona LQuatierlu Almanac 19 67^ pp. 360-61; Church Commit¬ 
tee Report , Book VI, p. 263ff; Gloria Emerson, “Cultural Group Once Aided 
by CIA Picks Ford Fund Aide to Be Its Director,” New York Times , October 
2, 1967, p. 17; Hans J. Morgenthau, “Government Has Compromised the 
Integrity of the Educational Establishment,” and Irving Louis Horowitz, “So¬ 
cial Scientists Must Beware the Corruption of CIA Involvement,” both in 
Young Hum Kim, ed.. The Central Intelligence Agency: Problems of Secrecy 
in a Democracy (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath & Co., 1968). 

Of particular interest in this regard is George Kennan’s presidency of the 
Free Russia Fund and, later, of the East European Fund, maim conduits f qr 
ford F oundation money to approved scholars seeking to aeSne U.S. /Soviet 
relations during the cold war. Both funds placed particular stress on emigre 
affairs. For an early Free Russia Fund publication, see George Fischer, ed., 
Russian Emigre Politics (New York: Free Russia Fund, Inc., 1951). On Ken¬ 
nan’s role, see also “The Men of the Ford Foundation,” Fortune (December 
1951), p. 117. 

For an overview of clandestine CIA funding of media assets, see Danied 
Schorr, “AxeJ^IA^A^seksja Press Liability? ,” More (February 1978), p. 18ff. 

7. CJrTcTandestine U.S. funding for foreign governments 7 exile programs, see 

“U.S. Policy on Defectors, Escapees and Refugees from Communist Areas,” 
NSC 5706 (secret), February 13, 1957, p. 6, a sanitized version of which is 
available in RG 273, NA, Washington, D.C. For $100 million estimate, see US. 
Government Monies Provided to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, loc. 
cit. On the CIA’s use of RFE/RL covers to pass funds to exile committees, see 
Price, op. cit., p. CRS-1 (for CIA funding of RFE) and p.CRS-10 (for RFE 
funding of the ACEN). See also NCFE, President's Report for the Yearf954, 
pp. 18-21, for a surprisingly franlT prS'entaluol^^ Division of 

Exile Relations’ work with the ACEN, International Peasant Union, Christian 
Democratic Union of Central Europe, and others. 

8. For source material on CIA funding of exile programs, see source note 7, 
above. On clandestine CIA funding of the extreme-right Paris Bloc of the 
Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) exile organization, see A. Tchilingarian, 
“The American Committee and the Struggle Against Bolshevism,” Armenian 
Review (March 1955), p. 3ff., and Crewdson and Treaster, op. cit., p. 37, for 
agency funding of book by extreme right ABN leader Suzanne Labin. Al¬ 
though Labin worked closely with numerous outspoken Nazi collaborators 
and sympathizers in the leadership of ABN, there is no indication that she 
collaborated with or is sympathetic to Nazi Germany. For a more complete 
discussion of the dominant role of Nazi collaborators in the ABN, as well as 
their role in more moderate CIA-funded organizations, such as the ACEN and 
the exile committees, see Chapters Fifteen and Seventeen. 

9. For an example of political controversy over the “left” tilt of some RFE/RL- 
financed emigre associations, see Kurt Glaser’s attack on the Council for a Free 
Czechoslovakia titled “The ‘Russia First’ Boys in Radio Free Europe,” Na- 



320 


Source Notes 


tional Review (February 1953). This article found its way into Immigration 
and Naturalization Service records as INS “Memorandum for File 56347/ 
218,” May 6, 1953, retyped word for word by an unidentified investigator for 
the Subversive Alien Branch. That memo, in turn, led to a series of watch 
reports and even arrest warrants for pro-Zenkl Czech leaders. See INS clas¬ 
sified file on Council for a Free Czechoslovakia, obtained by author via FOIA. 
On “liberal” tilt, see also Smith, OSS , p. 389, n. 63; Colby, op. cit.; and Kurt 
Glaser, “Psychological Warfare’s Policy Feedback,” Ukrainian Quarterly 
(Spring 1953), p. llOff. For Durcansky group’s view of Tiso regime, see Ferdi¬ 
nand Durcansky, “The West Shut Its Eyes to Tiso’s Warning,” ABN-Corre¬ 
spondence , No. 5-6 (1953), p. 6. 

10. On Niznansky and Csonka, see Milan Blatny, Les Proclamateurs de Fausse 
Liberte (Bratislava: LTnstitut d’fitudes de Journalisme, 1977), pp. 16 and 30. 
Kennan quote: George F. Kennan, Memoirs 1950-1963 (Boston: Little, 
Brown, 1967), p. 96, hereinafter cited as Kennan vol. 11. 

11. On selection of name for American Committee for the Liberation of the 
Peoples of Russia, see Mickelson, op. cit., pp. 63-64 and 69. On origins of Radio 
Liberation generally, see Joseph Whelan, Radio Liberty: A Study of Its Ori¬ 
gins, Structure, Policy, Programming and Effectiveness (Washington, D.C.: 
Congressional Research Service, 1972); with discussion of evolution of Ameri¬ 
can Committee for Liberation of the Peoples of Russia name at p. CRS-8EF. See 
also William Henry Chamberlin, “Emigre Anti-Soviet Enterprises and Splits,” 
Russian Review (April 1954), p. 9Iff. 

On founding of Vlassovite Komitet Osvobozhdeniia Narodov Rossii, or 
KONR (Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia), see Dallin, 
German Rule , pp. 628-36. George Fischer reports that the name KONR was 
originally chosen by Himmler himself. 

12. Mickelson, op. cit., p. 69, n. 2. For a more detailed examination of internal 
emigre splits and conflicts through 1952, see Dvinov, Politics of the Russian 
Emigration , loc. cit., p. 285ff. For a Ukrainian nationalist point of view on this 
question, see, for example, “Court Justice or Political Vengeance,” Ukrainian 
Quarterly (Spring 1952), p. lOlff., which concerns a beating of a pro-American 
Committee for Liberation Ukrainian leader at the hands of three young na¬ 
tionalists. 

13. Hans-Erich Volkmann, “Main Political Trends Among Russian Emigres in 
Germany After World War II,” tr. RFE/RL, Osteuropa (April 1965), p. 20. The 
extremist Russian nationalist organization NTS reported a number of similar 
bombing incidents during the same period that it also blamed on the KGB or 
its predecessors, the MGB and MVD. On murders, kidnappings, and other 
violence against emigres, see MVD-MBG Campaign Against Russian Emigres 
(Frankfurt: Possev Publishing House, 1957), and Central Intelligence Agency, 
“Soviet Use of Assassination and Kidnapping,” February 17, 1966, FOIA re¬ 
view 8/76, Document No. 570-254 (obtained via FOIA), which is so similar in 
content to the Possev publication as to suggest derivative authorship. Possev 
served as the official publishing house of the extreme Russian nationalist group 
NTS for more than twenty years, although today it asserts it is an independent 
organization. On confessed Soviet double agents among the emigres, see, for 



Source Notes 321 


example, Konstantin Cherezov, NTS, a Spy Ring Unmasked (Moscow: Soviet 
Committee for Cultural Relations with Russians Abroad, n.d. [1963?]). Chere¬ 
zov was a leading NTS activist in Western Europe until he defected to the 
Soviets. 

14. Mickelson, op. cit., p. 35, with quote from Poole on pp. 40-41. 

15. Paul Blackstock, Agents of Deceit (Chicago: Quadrangle Press, 1966), pp. 
141-46, with original publication of “Document” at News from Behind the 
Iron Curtain, magazine of NCFE (January 1952). 

16. Blackstock, Agents of Deceit, p. 146. 

17. CBS television, 60 Minutes transcript for May 17, 1982, on Hazners, Stan- 
kievich. 

On Trifa, see Jack Anderson, “RFE’s Bishop Interview Is Probed,” Washing¬ 
ton Post, February 20, 1980. 

Chapter Eleven 

1. Fletcher Prouty interview, April 12, 1984. See also Fletcher Prouty, The Secret 
Team (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973). On pivotal role of Briga¬ 
dier General Robert McClure, see Colonel Alfred H. Paddock, U.S. Army 
Special Warfare (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1982), pp. 
17-20 and 44-51. 

2. Prouty interview, April 12, 1984. For archival documentation on this point, 
see JIC 634/1, “Joint Intelligence Committee: Vulnerability of Soviet Bloc 
Armed Forces to Guerrilla Warfare,” September 8, 1953 (top secret), now 
available on microfilm through University Publications of America, Records of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Part 2: The Soviet Union, Reel 7, Frame 0184ff., 
which discusses in detail U.S. insurgency operations inside the USSR in the 
event of war, including assassinations, contamination of water supplies, de¬ 
struction of communications, and other techniques. 

3. “Subject: Evaluation of Effect on Soviet War Effort Resulting from the Strate¬ 
gic Air Offensive,” June 1, 1949 (top secret), Box 9, Tab 67-OSD, Hot Files, RG 
319, NA, Washington, D.C., declassified following author’s review request. On 
this point, see also “Dir of Log to Dir of P&O, Subject: JCS 1920/1,” March 
1, 1949, P&O 350 06 TS through 381 FLR TS, 1949 Hot File, RG 319, NA, 
Washington, D.C. 

4. On Labor Service units, see Labor Services and Industrial Police in the Euro¬ 
pean Command 1945-1950 (Karlsruhe, Germany: Historical Division 
EUCOM, 1952), pp. 112-15 and the chronology on pp. 236-46. This study was 
formerly classified as secret security information but is now declassified and 
available at the NA and the Center for Military History, both in Washington, 
D.C. It is cited hereinafter as Labor Service History. 

For data in footnote concerning USSR use of Labor Service units, see Cen¬ 
tral Intelligence Agency, “Memorandum for Mr. John D Hickerson, Depart¬ 
ment of State,” November 19, 1947 (secret), 861.20262/11-1947 RG 59, NA, 
Washington, D.C. For Nazi use of Labor Service groups, see B. Dmytryshyn, 
“The Nazis and the SS Volunteer Division ‘Galicia,’ ” American Slavic and 
East European Review (February 1956), pp. 2-3, and C. L. Lundin, “Nazifica- 
tion of Baltic German Minorities,” Journal of Central European Affairs (April 



322 


Source Notes 


1947), p. 25. See also L. Poliakov, “The Vatican and the ‘Jewish Question/ ” 
Commentary (November 1950), p. 442, for information concerning genocidal 
activities by German Labor Service gangs during the Holocaust in Poland. 

On Special Forces secrecy discussed in the text and footnote, see Paddock, 
op cit., p. 194, n.84, and p. 196ff., n. 13, 14, 17, and 26. See also Newsweek 
(January 21, 1952). Paddock also offers an excellent discussion of interservice 
rivalry over the Special Forces on pp. 131-42. He does not, however, clarify 
the Special Forces’ role in nuclear war planning, perhaps because of lingering 
security restrictions. On interservice rivalry: Colonel Charles M. Simpson, 
Inside the Green Berets: The First Thirty Years (Novato, Calif.: Presidio, 1983), 
pp. 17, 21, 48, and 53; also Prouty interview, April 12, 1984. On continuum 
of prewar psychological warfare programs with postnuclear guerrilla opera¬ 
tions, see “Comments on Proposal for Establishment of a Guerrilla Warfare 
Group, Appendix ‘B/ ” pp. 2-4 (top secret), Hot Files, RG 319, NA, sanitized 
version in collection of author, and NSC 20, loc. cit. 

5. US. v. Talivaldis Karklins, U. S. District Court Central California, civil action 
CV 81 0460 LTL; and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Investiga¬ 
tions, op cit., p. 44. On emigre nationalists and the Labor Service Divisions, see 
also depositions of Edward O’Connor and Col. Philip Corso (ret.), U.S. v. Liudas 
Kairys, U.S. District Court Northern Illinois, civil action 80-C-4032, and the 
defendant’s posttrial brief in the same case. Kairys had served during the war in 
the SS Commando Lublin and as an SS guard at the Treblinka forced-labor 
camp. He joined a U.S. Army-sponsored Lithuanian labor service unit in 1947, 
and it was through that channel that he entered the United States. “The Army 
took Kairys and 18 to 20 men from his [Labor Service] unit to Stuttgart,” 
Kairys*s defense brief reads. “They were taken to the head of a long line waiting 
to see the [U.S.] consul and after only two or three minutes of processing, he was 
given an oath” and shortly thereafter put on a transport to the United States. 
The Treblinka forced-labor camp where Kairys served is not to be confused 
with the better-known Treblinka extermination center, which was nearby. 
Thousands of Jewish prisoners were murdered by the SS at the forced-labor 
camp; hundreds of thousands were killed at the extermination center. 

On Zegners, see “Aplilciba 1941 y 20 Augusta,” “Aplilciba 18 Dec. 1941,” 
and “RIGAER E-G der Sicherheitspolizei den 7 Okt. 1942 Nr.1098,” copies in 
author’s collection, which document Zegners’s role in the Latvian security 
police in Riga. 

6. The American colonel quoted in the text spoke with the author on the condi¬ 
tion he not be identified. 

7. For record of Busbee’s correspondence, see “Item 1, 2 February 1951” and 
“Item 1, 27 April 1951,” European Command Labor Services Division Clas¬ 
sified Decimal File, 1950-51 (secret), now at RG 338, NA, Suitland, Md.; and 
Labor Service History, p. 151. 

8. Labor Service History, p. 117 (on suppression of disturbances); pp. 181-82 (on 
weapons and training); p. 198 (on chemical warfare preparations). On strength 
of units, see EUCOM Annual Narrative Report 1954 (secret), RG 338, NA, 
Suitland, Md., pp. 85-88, 95-98. On secrecy of mission, see “Subject: Letter 
to General Eddy from K. W. Von Schlieben, Major, 31 Oct 1950” (restricted), 
RG 338 Decimal Files, NA, Suitland, Md. 



Source Notes 323 


9. On Albanian unit, see EUCOM Annual Narative Report, Labor Services Divi¬ 
sion, 1950, European Command Labor Services Division Classified Decimal 
File, 1950-51 (secret), p. 22, RG 338, NA, Suitland, Md. 

10. “Geheimorganisation des Bundes Deutscher Jugend in Hessen Ausgehoben,” 
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 9, 1952; “Oberbundesanwalt For- 
dert BDJ-Akten,” Frankfurter Rundeschau, October 14, 1952, p. 1; “Alleged 
Secret Organization: Guerrilla Training in Germany,” Times of London, Octo¬ 
ber 9, 1952. 

11. ‘Partisans’ in Germany: An Arms Dump in the Odenwald,” Times of London, 
October 11, 1952; “German Says U.S. Set Up Saboteurs,” New York Times, 
October 9, 1952; “More Germans Hit U.S. Sabotage Plan,” New York Times, 
October 12, 1952. 

12. “German Saboteurs Betray U.S. Trust,” New York Times, October 10, 1952. 

13. “German Socialist Fears Subversion,” New York Times, October 14, 1952. 

14. Thomas Braden interview, September 12, 1984; Meyer, op. cit. 

15. Select Committee [Church Committee] to Study Governmental Operations 
With Respect to Intelligence Activities, U.S. Senate, 94th Congress, Alleged 
Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders: An Interim Report (Washing¬ 
ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975). 

16. Military Intelligence Division, “History of the Military Intelligence Division, 
7 December 1941—1 September 1945,” ACMH Manuscripts, 1946, pp. 307- 
OS, ACMH Manuscripts (secret), RG 319, NA, Washington, D.C. 

17. Colonel R. W. Porter to Major General R. C. Lindsay et al., “Psychological 
Warfare Study for Guidance in Strategic Planning,” with annex, March 11, 
1948 (top secret), P&O 091.42 TS (Section I, Cases 1-7), Hot Files, RG 319, NA, 
Washington, D.C. On this point, see also JIC 634/1, Reel 7, frame 0184ff., 
particularly Paragraph 5c, “Command of MVD Security Units.” “The com¬ 
mand of MVD security troops is extremely centralized,” the JIC recommenda¬ 
tion states. “[TJherefore, [MVD] headquarters would be profitable targets. 
The higher the MVD official that could be removed, the greater the loss of 
security control, and the greater the intimidation of other officials.” 

For an intriguing study of the “benefits” of systematic assassination of Amer¬ 
ica’s political opponents, see Captain John T. Stark, Unconventional War¬ 
fare—Selective Assassination as an Instrument of National Policy (Air Univer¬ 
sity, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Command and Staff College Special 
Study, n.d. [1962?]), official use only. 

18. Wisner correspondence with the INS, 1951, as reproduced in John Loftus, The 
Belarus Secret (New York: Knopf, 1982), pp. 102-03. 

19. Church Committee Report, Book IV, p. 132n. 

20. Prouty interview, April 12, 1984. For information on the “medical experi¬ 
ments” discussed in footnote, see John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian 
Candidate (New York: Times Books, 1979), pp. 22-29. For CIA role in assassi¬ 
nation plots on foreign leaders, see Church Committee Report, interim report, 
November 20, 1975, and Church Committee Report, Book IV, p. 121ff. 

21. John S. Guthrie memorandum for the secretary, Security Control Section, JIG, 
“Subject: Assignment of Code Word,” December 8, 1947 (top secret), (for 
Hagberry) and November 21, 1947 (for Lithia), both in 1946-1948 Decimal 
File, P&O 311.5 TS (Section II), 1948, RG 319, NA, Washington, D.C. 



324 


Source Notes 


22. Maris Cakars and Barton Osborn, “Operation Ohio,” WIN (September 18, 
1975). See also Miles Copeland, Without Cloak or Dagger (New York: Simon 
& Schuster, 1974), p. 241, in which former CIA operative Copeland praises the 
“no-nonsense handling of occasional traitors” by an unidentified emigre group 
on the OPC payroll as a desirable contrast with what was “allowed in the OPC 
itself.” For Army comments on missing records mentioned in text: author’s 
FOIA correspondence with the National Archives and U.S. Army concerning 
Hagberry, Lithia, and Rusty, 1984. 

FlVlore recently the CIA has sidestepped objections to its role in the murder 
P I of political opponents by defining “assassination” so narrowly as to be mean- 
I ingless in most circumstances. Although the CIA’s use of assassination is barred 
by a presidential order, in 1985 there came to light a CIA Psychological 
Warfare Manual , prepared for anti-Communist Nicaraguan rebels, in which 
the agency directs its client soldiers to employ “selective use of violence” to 
' “neutralize” Nicaraguan officials such as local and regional leaders, doctors, 

I judges, and police. The CIA manual also suggests hiring professional criminals 
to carry out “selective jobs” against local Nicaraguan government officials and 
sympathizers and advocates murdering other anti-Communist sympathizers 
in order to create “martyrs.” When U.S. congressional hearings were held on 
the matter, the former chief of CIA clandestine operations in Latin America, 
Dewey Claridge, testified that these murders were not “assassinations” and 
thereforeljot barred by the presidential order. According to Claridge, “these 
events don’t constitute assassinations because as far as we are concerned assas¬ 
sinations are only those of heads of state.” The (U.S.) National Council of 
Teachers of English awarded its 1985 “Doublespeak” Awards to both Claridge 
\ and the CIA itself as “an appropriate form of recognition” for the agency’s 
\ “misuse of public language”; see National Council of Teachers of English, 
l Quarterly Review of Doublespeak (January 1986), p. 2. 

23. Franklin Lindsay interview, January 25, 1985. 

24. Church Committee Report, Book IV, p, 128ff. 

For data on Soviet use of assassination discussed in footnote, see, for exam¬ 
ple, CIA, “Soviet Use of Assassination and Kidnapping,” loc. cit., “16 Anti- 
Communist Leaders Died the Death of Bandera,” ABN Correspondence, n.d. 
(1962?); Nikolai Khokhlov and Milton Lehman “I Would Not Murder for the 
Soviets,” Saturday Evening Post (November 20 and 27, December 4 and 11, 
1954); and particularly MVD-MGB Campaign Against Russian Emigres , loc. 
cit. 

25. For biographic material on Pash: Boris Pash interview, February 1985; and 
Pash, op. cit., for World War II role and photos. For role in Oppenheimer case, 
see James Reston, “Dr. Oppenheimer Is Barred from Security Clearance, 
Though ‘Loyal,’ ‘Discreet,’ ” New York Times , June 2, 1954, p. Iff. 

26. For documentation of Pash’s role in Bloodstone, see SANACC 395, Document 
8 (SANA 6024: Appointment of Committee), April 15,1948 (secret). On assassi¬ 
nation as a designated Bloodstone mission, see Joint Strategic Plans Commit¬ 
tee, JSPC 862/3, loc. cit. 

27. Church Committee Report , Book IV, p. 129. According to the CIA, Pash was 
assigned to that agency from March 3, 1949, to January 3, 1952, and worked 
with the CIA on several operations after that date; see ibid., p. 128. 



Source Notes 325 


28. Pash interview, February 1985. 

29. SANACC 395 Document 8 (SANA 6024: Appointment of Committee), April 
15, 1948 (secret), and Church Committee Report , Book IV, p. 128ff. 

30. Church Committee Report Book IV, p. 129EF. 

31. Ibid., p. 130. 

32. Pentagon document: JSPC 862/2, loc. cit., Appendix “C,” pp. 27, 35. Pash: 
SANACC 395 Document 8 (SANA 6024: Appointment of Committee), April 
15, 1948, and Church Committee Report, Book IV, p. 130. Albanian role: see 
Chapter Nine, source notes 31 through 33. Murder of double agents: Cakars 
and Osborn, op. cit.; Copeland, op. cit., p. 241, with quoted comment from 
OPC supervisor in Church Committee Report , Book IV, p. 312. 

33. Corson, op. cit., p. 361. 

Chapter Twelve 

1. Carroll, op. cit., pp. 80 and 85. 

2. Ibid. 

3. Dallin, German Rule, p. 680. 

4. Rositzke interview, January 16, 1985. 

5. Lindsay interview, January 25, 1985. 

6. For Soviet reportage, see, for example, V. Styrkul, The SS Werewolves (Lvov: 
Kamenyar Publishers, 1982), Yuri Melnichuk, Judas's Breed (Kiev: Dnipro 
Publishers, 1978); Mykola Horlenko, Fake Patriots (Odessa: Mayak Publishers 
1983); Olexander Vasylenko, “The Brand of Criminals,” Ukrainian News, no. 
20 (1986). 

7. For the Western reportage, see, for example, United Committee of the 
Ukrainian-American Organizations of New York, The Ukrainian Insurgent 
Army in Fight for Freedom (New York: Dnipro Publishing, 1954), hereinafter 
cited as Ukrainian Insurgent Army.; Edward M. O’Connor, “A New Look at 
Nationalism,” Ukrainian Quarterly, vol. XII, no. 4 (1957); Supreme Ukrainian 
Liberation Council, “The Policy of Liberation,” November 4, 1953; Mykola 
Lebed, UP A, Ukrainska Povstanska Armiia (Uydannia Presovoho Biura 
UGVR, 1946); and, on a more careful and scholarly level, Armstrong, op. cit. 
“Dnipro Publishers” of Kiev (note 6 above) is not affiliated, obviously, with 
“Dnipro Publishing” of New York, which put out the Ukrainian Insurgent 
Army text mentioned in this note. 

8. Dallin, German Rule, p. 107ff.; Wilhelm Canaris, “Kriegstagebuchaufzeich- 
nung liber die Konferenz im Fiihrerzug in Ilnau am 12.9.1939,” Nuremberg 
document No. 3047-PS, NA, Washington, D.C., and Kahn, op. cit., p. 453. For 
historical overviews of Ukrainian nationalism, see Philip Friedman, “Ukrain- 
ian-Jewish Relations During the Nazi Occupation,” YIVO Annual of Jewish 
Social Science, vol. XII, p. 259ff.; Alexander Motyl, The Turn to the Right: The 
Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism (Boulder, 
Colo.: East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 1980); St. J. 
Paprocki, “Political Organizations of the Ukrainian Exiles After the Second 
World War,” Eastern Quarterly, vol. V, nos. 1-2 (January 1952); John S. Kark, 
“The Ukraine and Its Supreme Liberation Council,” master’s thesis, Univer¬ 
sity of Maryland, 1955; and Armstrong, op. cit. On anti-Semitism, see Fried¬ 
man, op. cit.; Dallin, German Rules; p. 119, n. 2; Malcolm MacPherson, The 



326 Source Notes 


Blood of His Servants (New York: Times Books, 1984); and Hermann Rasch- 
hofer, Political Assassination: The Legal Background of the Oberlander and 
Stashinsky Cases (Tubingen: Fritz Schlichtenmayer, n.d. [1963?]). Raschhofer, 
a German rightist, defends former SS officer Teodor Oberlander on the 
ground that Ukrainian nationalist extremists, not Germans, were primarily 
responsible for anti-Semitic outrages during the opening months of the Ger¬ 
man occupation of Lvov. Raschhofer’s study is perhaps the most sophisticated 
defense of Nazi genocide in the Ukraine available in the English language. The 
only source for this unusual volume in the United States, so far as the author 
is aware, is John Birch Socie ty bookstor es. 

9. Dallin, GerrndrrRTfle^Tiri^^ On^helissassination of Pieracki and the subse¬ 
quent careers of Lebed and Bandera, see Mykola Lebed, U.S. Army INSCOM 
Dossier No. C 804 3982, obtained by the author via FOIA. Note particularly 
“Memorandum for the Officer in Charge, Subject: Mikola Lebed/' September 
30, 1948 (secret), 7970th Counter Intelligence Corps Group, Region IV; “Per¬ 
sonality Report, Subject: LEBED, Mykola,” by C1C Special Agent Randolph 
Carroll, December 29, 1947; and “Personality Card, LEBED, Mykola,” Ref. 
D 82270 memo, July 22, 1948 (Document 08). 

10. Wolodymyr Stachiw to Adolf Hitler, June 23, 1941, Reich Chancery registry 
No. RK 9380A, U.S. government’s evidentiary exhibit, U.S. v. Bohdan Koziv, 
U.S. District Court Southern Florida and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals docket 
no. 79-6640-CIV-JCP, copy in author’s collection. 

On funding and arms for OUN, see Dallin, German Ride, pp. 115EF.; 621-27. 

11. Dallin, German Rule , pp. 115ffi, 621-27. For self-acknowledgment by nation¬ 
alist sources of recruiting among Nazi-sponsored militia groups, see Lev Shan- 
kowsky, “Ten Years of UPA Struggle,” in Ukrainian Insurgent Army, p. 26. 
Shankowsky’s account asserts that the UPA “operate[d] on a large scale against 
Nazi Germany,” a position that is at best a one-sided presentation of the facts. 
This volume is generally regarded as the “official” history of the UPA by 
Ukrainian nationalists in the United States, and it fails to discuss the role of the 
group in anti-Semitic pogroms and pro-Nazi activities. 

12. Dallin, German Rule, pp. 625, 645-46, 654. 

13. On Operation Sonnenblume, see Otto Skorzeny, “Consolidated Interrogation 
Report No. 4,” loc. cit., pp. 38-39. See also “General Situation Report No. 2, 
15 July to 1 September 1945,” Office of Strategic Services Mission for Germany 
(top secret), p. 5, for further details drawn from an interrogation of prisoner 
Bruno A. C. Nikoll. 

14. Ukrainian Insurgent Army, p. 40. 

15. Village Voice reporter Joe Conason, working independently from the author, 
published an extensive expose of the Lebed affair, including the Kosakivs’kyy 
account, as this book was in preparation. See Joe Conason, “To Catch a Nazi,” 
Village Voice (February 11, 1986), p. 1. For a reply to these charges from the 
Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council with which Lebed is affiliated, see 
“Statement from the Foreign Representation of the Ukrainian Supreme Lib¬ 
eration Council,” Ameri c a (March 3, 19861, p. 2ff. Also Mykola Lebed inter¬ 
views, October Q'and December 10, 1985. For an authoritative account of the 
atrocities at the Zackopane Gestapo school near Krakow, see Urteil vom 15 


Source Notes 327 


August 1968 in der Strafsache gegen Wilhelm Karl Johannes Rosenbaum, 
Landgericht Hamburg Schwurgericht (50) 21/67 (judgment in the Wilhelm 
Rosebaum war crimes case), p. 22ff. 

16. Mykola Lebed, INSCOM Dossier No. C 804 3982. St. J. Paprocki, op. cit., cites 
Lebed as security chief of the OUN and “the man pulling the strings within 
the [OUN] party” (p. 44). Yaroslav Bilinsky also notes Lebed as “an outstanding 
organizer and the chief of the OUN security service”; see Yaroslav Bilinsky, 
The Second Soviet Republic: The Ukraine After World War II (New Bruns¬ 
wick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964), p. 122. 

17. [German] Army Field Police Group Report No. 1, July 7, 1941, published in 
Raschhofer, op. cit., p. 41ff. 

18. On events in Lvov, see Leon W. Wells, The Death Brigade (The Janowska 
Road) (New York: Holocaust Library and Schocken Books, 1978), and Philip 
Friedman, Roads to Extinction: Essays on the Holocaust: The Destruction of 
the Jews of Lwow 1941-1944 (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1979). See also Mac- 
Pherson, op. cit., p. lOlff. According to captured SS records, a later purge of 
Jews in Lvov (one of several) yielded “20,952 kilograms of golden wedding 
rings... 35 wagons of furs. . . 11.73 kilograms of gold teeth and inlays,” and a 
long list of other items, each of which was dutifully tallied up and turned over 
to the SS “Special Staff Reinhard.” See International Military Tribunal, Trials 
of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (Nur¬ 
emberg, Germany: 1947), vol. 3, p. 532. See also N. M. Gelber, The Encyclope¬ 
dia of the Jewish Diaspora vol. 1, Lwow, (Jerusalem: n.p., 1956), in Hebrew. 

Lebed’s account discussed in the footnote is based on Mykola Lebed inter¬ 
view, December 10, 1985, and Lebed’s correspondence with the author, 
March 1,1985. For U.S. Army account, see Mykola Lebed INSCOM dossier no. 
C 804 3982. 

19. Mykola Lebed, INSCOM Dossier No. C 804 3982. Note particularly “Memo¬ 
randum for the Officer in Charge, Subject: Mikola Lebed”; “Personality Re¬ 
port, Subject: LEBED, Mykola”; and “Personality Card, LEBED, Mykola.” A 
second INSCOM dossier concerning Lebed, No. D-201967 24B2190, includes 
copies of Lebed’s postwa r appeals to U.S. Secretar y of State Geo rge Marshall 
and a complete copy oF1Ceh)^d^own account oTThfT47PATduring^he war, 
which unfortunately is presently available only in the Ukrainian language. See 
Lebed, op. cit. 

20. Mykola Lebed INSCOM Dossier No. C 804 3982, “Personality Card, LEBED, 
Mykola.” 

21. Lebed interview, December 10, 1985. 

22. Mykola Lebed INSCOM Dossier No. C 804 3982, “Extract from par 2, MOIC 
Sub-Region MARBURG, file III-M-1928 Subject: Formation of a Ukrainian 
Government in Exile,” July 7, 1948 (secret); Document 43 in the Lebed dos¬ 
sier. 

23. Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, Section 7 [50 USC 403h]. On Lebed’s 
life in Germany, see Lebed INSCOM dossier. 

24. Agency correspondence with author: INS, June 5, 1984, and Office of the 
Attorney General, June 25 and December 31, 1984. For denial of congressio¬ 
nal request, author’s interview with former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtz- 



328 Source Notes 


man, June 7, 1983. In June 1985 the CIA released a small group of heavily 
censored records concerning the 100 Persons Act in response to an FOIA 
request by the author. They acknowledge in passing that the CIA and the INS 
“h ave cooperated on mutual problems for many ye a£^ and that the authority 
tosponsor aliens for 100 Persons immigration had been delegated by the CIA 
director to Deputy Director Marshall Carter in 1962. Author’s FOIA request 
No. F84-0414. 

25. 1985 GAO Report Mykola Lebed is the anonymous “Subject D” discussed in 
this study. 

26. U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, List of Organizations Considered Inimi¬ 
cal to the United States Under PL 774 (Frankfurt: U.S. Displaced Persons 
Headquarters, n.d.) (secret), pp. 29-30. 

27. On procedures and the transmittal of information concerning Lebed, see 1985 
GAO Report p. 34. Also Lebed interviews, October 9 and December 10,1985. 
On archives, see INSCOM Dossier No. ZF010016. 

28. Newsweek (March 19,1951), and Mykola Lebed, “Ukrainian Insurgent Army,” 
speech at Yale Political Union, February 13, 1951, in Vital Speeches of the 
Day, April 1, 1951, p. 370ff. 

29. 1985 GAO Report , p. 34. 

30. “SHANDRUK, General Paul,” CIC Region III report, May 14, 1951, in IN¬ 
SCOM Dossier 148204 25 B/679 (secret). Documents 042-045. On Shandruk’s 
wartime career see also Final Interrogation Report: The Polish-Ukrainian 
Military Staff, U.S. Seventh Army Interrogation Center, August 28, 1945 
(confidential). Box 721A, Entry 179, MIS-Y Enemy POW Interrogation Files, 
RG 165, NA, Washington, D.C. 

31. Shandruk was living in Trenton, New Jersey, as of 1959. See Pavlo Shandruk, 
Arms of Valor ; tr. Roman Olesnicki (New York: Robert Speller & Sons, 1959), 
p. xxxiv. The U.S. Army was well aware that Shandruk had lied on his applica¬ 
tion for a U.S. visa; see “Memo for Major Abraham, Visa Section” from Captain 
Charles Hoagland, June 29, 1950[?] (confidential), which states: “Subject’s case 
file seems to indicate that SZYNDRUK [a standard transliteration of Shandruk] 
supplied false information in connection with his visa applications . . . [and] 
it would appear that CIC may be subject to criticism if it became general 
knowledge that SZYNDRUK was allowed to emigrate to the United States in 
spite of his SS background. . . . For example, the Soviet line of propaganda 
could center upon a U.S. move, say, to harbor from justice a ‘famous Nazi 
collaborator’ ” (Documents 049-050 in Shandruk INSCOM dossier). Shandruk 
nevertheless entered the United States and remained there without difficulty. 

32. On registers of Ukrainians willing to fight in guerrilla operations, see JCS 
1844/144, “Civil Affairs and Military Government Plan in Support of the Joint 
Outline Emergency War Plan for a War Beginning 1 July 1952” (top secret), 
available on microfilm through University P ublications of^America title Rec¬ 
ords of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Part 2: The Soviet Union , Reel 7, Frame 
1078ff.; see particularly original document, p. 1308. See also Powers, op. cit., 
p. 52. 

33. Intelligence Research Report, “Nature and Extent of Disaffection and Anti- 
Soviet Activity in the Ukraine,” March 17,1948 (secret), pp. 12-13. This report 



Source Notes 329 


is available on microfilm through A Guide to OSS/State Department Intelli¬ 
gence and Research Reports , and its underlying microfilm collection published 
by University Publications of America, at Reel VIII, Item 7. 

34. On the CIA’s stockpiles of explosives mentioned in text, most of the CIA’s own 
documentation concerning its sabotage and guerrilla operations in Eastern 
Europe remains classified. Recent amendineu tg_to , the Freedom of Informa- 
tion Act suggest that these records may well remain buried forever—-.or* more 
likely^^ electiveTv’' leaked to sympathet ic scholars^desprte their obvious rele¬ 
vance to present-day AmericafT^oTicy^aebates over U.S.-Soviet relations. The 
quotes here are drawn from army staff records: P&O 040 CIA 1949-1950, 
correspondence of December 27, 1949, and January 4, 12, and 19, 1950 (top 
secret), RG 319, NA, Washington, D.C. 

35. Rositzke, op cit., p. 169. Lindsay interview, January 25, 1985; Rositzke inter¬ 
view, January 16, 1985. 

36. For army estimates of numbers of Soviet guerrillas, see top secret decimal File 
370.64 1951-1954, Army Chief of Special Warfare Brigadier General Robert 
McClure, “Memorandum to Asst. Chiefs of Staff G-3, subject: Staff Studies;” 
June 12, 1951, Box 15, RG 319, NA, Washington, D.C., and Paddock, op cit., 
p. 125. 

37. Lindsay interview, January 25, 1985. 

38. On airdrops of agents, see United Nations, Official Records of the General 
Assembly , Eleventh Session, Annexes, vol. II, November 12, 1956, to March 
8, 1957, New York, Agenda Item 70 (hereinafter cited as “UN Debate Item 
70”) pp. 1-14; William J. Jorden, “Soviet Assails U.S., Produces 4 ‘Spies,’ ” New 
York Times, February 7, 1957, p. 1; Rositzke, op. cit., pp. 18-38, 168-74; 
Rositzke interview, January 16, 1985; Mosley, op. cit., p. 289 (comments by 
Howard Roman), pp. 325, 346, 374 (comments by Richard Bissell), p. 495 
(comments by Kim Philby); Philby, op. cit., p. 164; Dvinov, Politics of the 
Russian Emigration , pp. 188-89; Ohletz interrogation, loc. cit; Cookridge, op. 
cit., pp. 237-64; Powers, op. cit., pp. 46ff. and 404; and Thomas Bell Smith, 
The Essential CIA (self-published [?], n.d. [1976?]) available through the Li¬ 
brary of Congress at JK468.16554. 

39. “UN Debate Item 70,” p. 3. See also Jorden, op. cit. 

Chapter Thirteen 

1. Benno W. Varon, “The Nazis’ Friends in Rome,” Midstream (April 1984), 
Charles Allen, “The Vatican and the Nazis,” Reform Judaism (Spring-Summer 
1983), and Gitta Sereny, Into That Darkness (New York: Vintage, 1983). See 
particularly: Vincent LaVista, “Illegal Emigration Movements in and Through 
Italy,” May 15, 1947 (top secret), FW 800.0128/5-1547, RG 59, NA, Washing¬ 
ton, D.C., hereinafter cited as La Vista. Charles Allen deserves credit for first 
unearthing the La Vista records. The identities of prelates who were reported 
to have been involved in illegal emigration, in some cases including Nazi 
smuggling, appear in La Vista Appendix “A.” Appendix “B” was written by 
U.S. Army CIC Special Agent Leo J. Pagmotta in December 1946 in connec¬ 
tion with Operation Circle, an investigation into a mass escape of prisoners 
from the Rimini POW camp north of Rome. The prisoners were reported to 



330 Source Notes 


have fled Europe with Vatican assistance. Further documentation on those 
events can be found in Case No. 4111, CIC Rome Detachment, Zone Five: 
“Operation Circle: Investigation of Illegal Emigration Movements,” Decem¬ 
ber 26(?), 1946 (secret). Also Ivo Omercanin interview, January 9, 1986. See 
also Tomas Eloy Martinez, “Peron and the Nazi War Criminals,” Colloquium 
Paper of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, 
D.C., April 26, 1984, p. 2. 

2. For official confirmation concerning the CIA’s role in RFE, RL, and the ACEN, 
see Price , op. cit. 

For notes on prominent Intermarium personalities, see Ferenc Vajda, U.S. 
Army INSCOM Dossier No. XE232094I9C003, Document 55, “Prominent 
Members of Intermarium,” and Documents 49-51, “Memorandum for the 
Officer in Charge, Subject: Intermarium,” June 23, 1947 (secret). On role of 
prominent Intermarium personalities to Christian Democratic Union of Cen¬ 
tral Europe (CDU/CE), see Freedom , Prerequisite to Lasting Peace (New York: 
CDU/CE, 1957), p. 121ffi, and Charles R. Dechert, “The Christian Democratic 
International,” Orbis (Spring 1967), p. 106ff. For CDU/CE’s relationship with 
the Free Europe Committee, see NCFE, President's Report , particularly for 
1953 and 1954, chapters headed “Division of Exile Relations.” See also Zyg- 
munt Nagorski, “Liberation Movements in Exile,” Journal of Central Euro¬ 
pean Affairs (July 1950), pp. 139-40. Also, Charles Dechert interview, April 
16, 1984. 

3. On the role of clerical-Fascist parties in the Holocaust, see Levin, op. cit, pp. 
507-17 (on Ustachis in Croatia) and 527-47 (on Slovakia). Yeshayahu Jelinek’s 
“Storm Troopers in Slovakia: The Rodobrana and the Hlinka Guard f Journal 
of Contemporary History , vol. 6, no. 3 (1971), p. 97ff., is a good review of 
Slovakian clerical-Fascist history, including its complex internal political feuds; 
see particularly pp. 97-98, 103-04, and 11 Iff. on Catholic ideology and role 
of Hlinka Guards in Holocaust. For postwar U.S. government acknowledg¬ 
ment of Hlinka collaboration, see U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, op. cit., 
p. 6. On renewed killings of Jews in Slovakia, see Levin, op. cit., and Dawidow- 
icz, op. cit, pp. 509-17 and 527-30. 

For text and commentary on 1941 Vichy document concerning Vatican 
position on treatment of Jews discussed in footnote, see L. Poliakov, “The 
Vatican and the Jewish Question,” tr. Rosa Mencher, Commentary (November 
1950), pp. 444-45. Poliakov was at the time of the article research director for 
the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris. 

For useful summaries of examples of Vatican efforts on behalf of European 
Jewry, see Poliakov, op. cit., pp. 440-43, and A. Rhodes, The Vatican in the 
Age of Dictators (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1973). See also Alexander 
Ramati, The Assisi Underground (New York: Stein & Day, 1978). 

4. Benno W. Varon, “The Nazis’ Friends in Rome,” Midstream (April 1984), p. 
13. 

5. LaVista , Appendix A. 

6. Ibid., pp. 2, 10. 

7. For notes on Intermarium personalities, see VAJDA, Ferenc, INSCOM dossier 
no. XE232094I9C003, Documents 45, 49-51. 

On the rescue of the Ukrainian Waffen SS Division discussed in the footnote. 



Source Notes 331 


see Shandruk, op. cit., pp. 290-96, with correspondence from Archbishop 
Buchko reproduced on pp. 295-96. Also based on author’s interview with 
Buchko’s former secretary Wacyl Lencyk, July 30, 1984. On the activities of 
the Ukrainian SS division, see Stein, op. cit., pp. 185-88. On the Ukrainian 
division’s enlistment of concentration camp guards and Einsatzkommandos, 
see pp. 258-64. See also Basil Dmytryshyn, “The Nazis and the SS Volunteer 
Division ‘Galicia/ ” American Slavic and East European Review , vol. 15 (Feb¬ 
ruary 1956), pp. 1-10, and “The Polish-Ukrainian Military Staff/’ Final Interro¬ 
gation Report, Ref. No. SAIC/FIR/34, August 28, 1945 (confidential). Enemy 
POW Interrogation File, Box 721, RG 165, NA, Washington, D.C. 

On Archbishop Ivan Buchko (sometimes transliterated as Buczko), see U.S. 
Army INSCOM Dossier No. XE232094I9C003, Document 55, concerning 
Buchko’s role in Intermarium and as “leader of UK [Ukrainian] resistance 
movement.” LaVista’s note concerning Buchko is in La Vista, Appendix A, and 
includes address of refugee relief agency in Rome. Walter Dushnyck’s glowing 
“Archbishop Buchko—Arch-Shepherd of Ukrainian Refugees,” Ukrainian 
Quarterly (Spring 1975), pp. 32-43, written shortly after Buchko’s death, is the 
most comprehensive review of his life available in English at present; see p. 
41 for Dushnyk’s account of Buchko’s role in halting Operation Keelhaul. See 
also Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 60-61. 

8. Ferenc Vajda, INSCOM Dossier No. XE232094I9C003, Documents 49-51, 
“Memorandum for the Officer in Charge, Subject: Intermarium,” June 23, 
1947 (secret). 

9. For Intermarium’s program, see “The Ideological Basis of the Confederation 
of Central-Eastern Europe,” and Gustav Celmin, “From the Idea of Inter¬ 
marium to Its Realization,” both in Intermarium Bulletin (Rome), no. 5 (Janu¬ 
ary 1947); quote on crushing Soviet military is from the latter article. For map 
of desired territories, see Miedzymorze (Rome: 1946). For examples of repres¬ 
sion of the group in Eastern Europe, see “Political Aspirations of Emigrants 
and Their Homeland Reactions,” Intermarium Bulletin , no. 9 (1948), pp. 9-10. 

Intermarium’s own publications are scarce, but those that are available 
remain a rich source of information on the personalities and politics of the 
movement. FBI File No. 65-38136, Serials 117 and 132, obtained via the FOIA, 
contain copies of Intermarium Bulletin, no. 4 (December 1945) and no. 5 
January 1947), in French and English, as well as a copy of The Free Inter¬ 
marium Charter (1945) and some fragmentary sanitized bureau correspon¬ 
dence concerning the group. The New York Public Library holds a collection 
of early French-language Intermarium Bulletins. The Library of Congress 
holds nos. 4 through 12 and 14-16. 

Internal evidence in both the Vajda and Dragonovic INSCOM files indicates 
that a specific group of intelligence reports concerning Intermarium was pre¬ 
pared by U.S. Army CIC in Vienna and Rome. INSCOM, unfortunately, asserts 
that it is not able to locate that material. Department of State coverage of the 
evolution of this organization includes Report 800.43 International of Liberty/ 
7-1548, July 15, 1948, from Frankfurt, RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. OSS 
reporting appears to have been limited to Report 3145, “Central European 
Federal Club,” RG 226, NA, Washington, D.C. No CIA reports are known to 
be publicly available. 



332 Source Notes 


10. Ferenc Vajda, 1NSCOM Dossier No. XE232094I9C003, Documents 49-51, 
“Memorandum for the Officer in Charge, Subject: lntermarium.” The inci¬ 
dent discussed at this point in the text concerns the escape of Olivar Virt- 
schologi-Rupprecht, an associate of Vajda’s. 

11. On Vajda affair, including his role in looting and other crimes, ibid. Quoted 
reference letter by Gowen is at “From: HQ Dept of the Army from Dir 
Intelligence Div, to: EUCOM,” February 11, 1948 (confidential), on Docu¬ 
ment 36; on Castel Gandolfo incident, see “Summary of Information: VAJTA, 
Ferenc/’ September 9, 1947 (secret). Documents 42-43. See also U.S. Depart¬ 
ment of State, “Subject: Vajda, Ferenc,” 111.20A/3-2448 (secret) and “Sub¬ 
ject: Comments re: Biographical Data,” 111.20A/3-3048 (secret) and “Subject: 
Ferenc Vajda,” 111.20A/4-1048 (with attachments in French written by 
Vajda), (secret), all dating from 1948 in RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. See also 
Department of State’s cable from Budapest to the secretary of state (no deci¬ 
mal file number; obtained via FOIA) January 10,1948 (secret) re: Ferenc Vajda 
and Richard Wilford’s long memorandum on lntermarium titled “Recent 
Developments Concerning the Establishment in Madrid of an Anti-Commu¬ 
nist ‘Eastern European Center/ ” December 20, 1947 (secret). The latter 
document includes a detailed essay by Vajda titled “The History of the Exile 
Groups” as an appendix, which is particularly useful in its discussion of the 
political alignments of major lntermarium personalities. Wilford’s study sug¬ 
gests that Vajda may have been plotting to lead a breakaway movement 
within lntermarium and was traveling to the United States in the hopes of 
securing substantial U.S. aid for his group. For contemporary coverage of the 
Vajda affair, see “Ferenc Vatja [sic] Arrested” New York Times, January 10, 
1948, p. 6, and “Plan to Hear Consul in Vajta [sic] Case,” New York Times, 
January 12, 1948, p. 4. 

12. “Nagy Calls Vatja [sic] Nazi,” New York Times, January 16, 1948, p. 4. For 
Gowen quote concerning Pearson, see Gowen’s “Summary Report of Investi¬ 
gation: VAJTA, Ferenc,” March 22, 1948 (top secret) in Vajda 1NSCOM dos¬ 
sier, Documents 9-13, with quoted portion in Document 13. 

The FBI has recently released a heavily censored group of files concerning 
Vajda’s stay in the United States. These include copies of a considerable 
amount of contemporary newspaper coverage and memos complaining that 
the Department of Justice was being blamed in the media for the entry of 
Nazis into the United States, when in fact, “the responsibility for [this] clearly 
lies with other Government departments or agencies” (Ladd memo to direc¬ 
tor, FBI, February 11, 1948, secret). Among the more interesting bureau 
records is a copy of a newspaper column by Spencer Irwin noting that Vajda 
“claimed that he was brought over here by the War Department and would 
be consulted by it to formulate a plan. This assertion,” Irwin continues, “will 
bear the most thorough investigation.” In reality, however, the entire matter 
was quickly dropped following a brief and largely secret congressional inquiry. 
See Spencer Irwin, “Behind the Foreign News,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 
January 4, 1948. 

The Hungarian government attempted to extradite Vajda for war crimes on 
July 20, 1950, but was rebuffed on the grounds that he was no longer in U.S. 



Source Notes 333 


custody. See Department of State records 211.6415, Vajtha [sic], Ferene/7- 
2050, with attachments, obtained by the author via FOIA. 

13. On congressional inquiry, “Inquiry Finds Vajta [sic] Lacked Passport,” New 
York Times, January 15, 1948, p. 11. On Vajda’s refuge at College of the Andes, 
see declassified State Department records: “Memorandum for the files on 
Ferenc Vajta, 3/27/56” with attached correspondence from Vajda (confiden¬ 
tial), 911 6221/4-1756, RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. Also Allan Ryan inter¬ 
view, May 9, 1984. 

On Adolf Berle’s role as a conduit for agency funds, see Jim Schachter, 
“Adolf Berle, Late Professor of Law, a Founder of 50’s CIA Drug Test Front,” 
Columbia [University] Daily Spectator October 31, 1977, p. 1. 

14. Gustav Celmins’s role in Intermarium is established in Ferenc Vajda, INSCOM 
Dossier No. XE23209419C003, Document 55, and in Gustav Celmins’s “From 
the Idea of Intermarium to Its Realization,” Intermarium Bulletin (Rome), no. 
5 (January 1947). For later teaching role and expulsion from the United States, 
see CIA Eastern Front Study, Addendum E: “The Baltic States,” p. 3, for data 
concerning Celmins’s Fascist record, entry into the United States, work in 
Syracuse, and eventual flight to Mexico. On the genocidal role of the Perkonk- 
rusts, see List of Organizations Considered Inimical to the United States 
Under PL 774, loc. cit. p. 19. 

15. For staffing of ACEN, see Assembly of Captive European Nations, op cit., p. 
177ff.; note roles of Alfreds Berzins (p. 183) and Boleslavs Maikovskis (p. 186). 
For U.S. government statements concerning wartime role of these individuals, 
see CROWCASS, Wanted List No. 14, loc. cit. (on Berzins); Office of Special 
Investigations, op. cit., pp. 34-35 (on Maikovskis). 

16. Assembly of Captive European Nations, op. cit., pp. 132, 139, 170-171, 180, 
and 187 (on Dosti); pp. 153, 183, 187, and 189 (on Berzins). 

17. Ivo Omrcanin interview, January 9, 1986. On Krunoslav Dragonovic’s role in 
Intermarium, see Ferenc Vajda, INSCOM Dossier No. XE23209419C003, 
Case No. 5080, “Subject: Intermarium,” June 23, 1947 (secret), Document No. 
50. On Dragonovic’s wartime role, see Martyrdom of the Serbs (Serbian East¬ 
ern Orthodox Diocese, n.d. [1943?]), p. 274. On Dragonovic’s role in escape 
routes for Croatian Fascist Ustachis, see Krunoslav Dragonovic, INSCOM Dos¬ 
sier XE 207018, CIC Special Agent Robert C. Mudd, “Summary of Informa¬ 
tion: Father Krunoslav DRAGANOVIC [sic],” February 12, 1947 (secret), 
Document Nos. 311-313. See also Mudd’s report of September 5,1947 (secret) 
for list of Ustachi fugitives under Dragonovic’s care in 1947, Document nos. 
307-310. Dragonovic’s organization, the Istituto di St. Jeronimus in Rome, is 
also cited in La Vista, Appendix A, as a channel of illegal immigration. For 
further information on Ustachi participation in Intermarium, see also “Croa¬ 
tian Activities in the Emmigration [sic],” Report No. R-3-50, January 3, 1950, 
source: ODDI Hq USFA (Rear) (secret), which notes that “some high ranking 
personalities of the Ustacha in Austria, in conjunction with . . . the Catholic 
Church, are assertedly attempting to establish the ‘Intermarium’ or ‘Inter- 
Danube States,’ to be composed of all the Catholic nations of Southeastern 
Europe”—obtained from U.S. Army INSCOM via the Freedom of Information 
Act. On escape of Ustachi, see 860H.20235/ 7-2347, July 23,1947 (secret), with 



334 


Source Notes 


attachments, RG 59, NA, Washington, D.C. Also of interest is an exchange of 
diplomatic notes between J. Graham Parsons (U.S. Embassy, Rome) and Wal¬ 
ter Dowling (EE Division, State Department HQ), dated May 22, 1947, and 
July 26, 1947, concerning the escape of Ante Pavelic disguised in priest’s robes. 
On escape of Pavelic and Artukovic, see Ryan, Barbie Report , pp. 136n.-37n., 
and Howard Blum, Wanted: The Search for Nazis in America (Greenwich, 
Conn.: Fawcett, 1977), pp. 187-88. 

18. Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 135ff. 

19. For Lyon quotes and role of Lyon and Crawford, see CIC Agent Paul Lyon, 
“Rat Line from Austria to South America,” July 12, 1948 (top secret), and Paul 
Lyon, “History of the Italian Rat Line,” April 10, 1950 (top secret), obtained 
via FOIA from U.S. Army INSCOM, Fort Meade, Md. Department of Justice’s 
version: Ryan, Barbie Report , p. 135ff. 

20. CIC Special Agent Robert C. Mudd, op. cit. See also Mudd’s report of Septem¬ 
ber 5, 1947 (secret) for list of Ustachi fugitives under Dragonovic’s care in 
1947, Document Nos. 307-310. Both are in Dragonovic, INSCOM Dossier XE 
207018. 

21. Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 28ff. On Barbie, see also Magnus Linklater, Isabel 
Hilton, and Neal Ascherson, The Nazi Legacy (New York: Holt, Rinehart & 
Winston, 1984); Murphy, op. cit.; Tom Bower, Klaus Barbie (New York: Pan¬ 
theon, 1984). 

22. Klaus Barbie Cl Special Interrogation Report 62 (CI-SIR/62), April 15, 1948 
(secret), reproduced in Ryan, Barbie Exhibits, Tab 27. 

23. Lieutenant Colonel Ellington Golden to commanding officer, Hq 970th CIC 
Detachment, “Subject: Klaus BARBIE,” December 11, 1947 (top secret); and 
E. Dabringhaus, “Agents’ [sic] Monthly Report,” September 15, 1948 (top 
secret), reproduced in Ryan, Barbie Exhibits, Tabs 18 and 31. 

24. Russ Belant, “Prof. Discusses US Ties to Postwar Nazis,” (Wayne State Univer¬ 
sity) The South End (February 14,1983). Erhard Dabringhaus interview, Janu¬ 
ary 1986. 

25. Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 69n. On Reny Hardy Affair, see Linklater et al., op. 
cit. pp. 77-96 passim. 

26. Ibid., p. 78. 

27. Ibid., pp. 150-54. See also George Neagoy, “Memorandum for the Record, 
Subject: Disposal of Dropped Intelligence Informant,” March 27, 1951 (top 
secret), reproduced in Ryan, Barbie Exhibits, Tab 104. 

28. Konrad Adenauer, Memoirs 1945-1953, tr. Beate Ruhm von Oppen (Chicago: 
Henry Regnery Co., 1966), p. 445, cited in Tom Bower, Blind Eye to Murder 
(London: Paladin-Grenada, 1983), p. 421, hereinafter cited as Bower, Blind 
Eye . For accounts of McCloy’s amnesties from varying perspectives, see 
Bower, Blind Eye, pp. 41 Iff., and Benjamin Ferencz, Less Than Slaves (Cam¬ 
bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 72ff. On U.S. consideration 
of a nuclear attack in the Korean War, see Gregg Herken, The Winning 
Weapon (New York: Vintage, 1982), pp. 332-335. 

29. Bower, Blind Eye , p. 415. 

30. Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany’s Office of Public Affairs, 
“Landsberg: A Documentary Report,” Information Bulletin (February 15, 
1950) p. Iff. 



Source Notes 335 


31. Ibid. 

32. Bower, Blind Eye, p. 418. See also Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment 
of l G. Farben (New York: Free Press, 1978). 

33. Ryan, Quiet Neighbors, pp. 280-84. See also following correspondence ob¬ 
tained via FOIA for documentary background: Representative Peter Rodino 
to comptroller general, February 17, 1983; Allan Ryan to Joseph Moore (FBI), 
February 18, 1983; and GAO Director William Anderson to FBI Director 
William Webster, March 2,1983. A sanitized version of Barbie’s FBI file availa¬ 
ble via FOIA includes similar internal DOJ correspondence on this investiga¬ 
tion; see FBI File No. 105-221892 on Klaus Barbie. 

34. Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 212. 

35. Lyon, “History of the Italian Rat Line,” loc. cit. 

36. Lyon, “Rat Line from Austria to South America,” loc. cit. 

37. Lyon, “History of the Italian Rat Line,” loc. cit. 

38. Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 158, and Allan Ryan interview, May 9, 1984. 

39. Lyon, “History of the Italian Rat Line,” loc. cit. Bishop’s name has been 
removed from the version of this document published by the Department of 
Justice; see Ryan, Barbie Exhibits, Tab 94. 

40. Bishop and Crayfield, op. cit., p. 7. See Brown, op. cit., pp. 679-81, on Bishop’s 
work in Bucharest. On Bishop’s intelligence work, see also “American Military 
Unit in Bucharest” (secret), Mediterranean Theater of Operations Security 
Histories, Folder 195b, Box 39, Entry 99, RG 226, records of the OSS, NA, 
Washington, D.C.; based also on Seraphim Buta interview, April 18, 1985. 
Bishop’s own recounting of the liberation of Romania is found in Colonel 
Robert Bishop, “I Saw the Reds Taste Freedom,” Collier’s (December 25, 
1948). Bishop’s ongoing work for U.S. intelligence is not mentioned in the 
Collier’s text. The National Personnel Records Center reports that its records 
indicate that Bishop died on November 28, 1958. 

41. Lyon, “History of the Italian Rat Line,” loc. cit. 

42. John M. Hobbins, “Memorandum for the Record, Subject: Informant Disposal, 
Emigration Methods of the 430th CIC Detachment,” n.d. (top secret), repro¬ 
duced in Ryan, Barbie Exhibits , Tab. 96, with quote on pp. 7-8. On Justice 
Department’s denial of CIA involvement mentioned above in the text, see 
Ryan, Barbie Report , p. 145n. 

43. Neagoy transfer to the CIA: Ryan, Barbie Report, p. 145n. Dragonovic and 
U.S. intelligence: Dragonovic, INSCOM dossier XE 207018, “Operational 
Work Sheet, 20 Oct ’60, Subject: Krunoslav Stefano Dragonovic” (confiden¬ 
tial), Document 127. 

44. Linklater et ah, op. cit., pp. 195-96. On currency smuggling trial, see docu¬ 
ments 038-043 of Dragonovic’s CIC dossier. On association with Bonifacic, see 
Bonifacic and Mihnovich, op. cit., p. 293ff. 

45. Nathaniel Sheppard, “Arrest of Nine Terror Suspects Brings Uneasy Calm to 
Croatian-Americans,” New York Times , July 23, 1981, p. 8; Arnold Lubasch, 
“10 Croatians on Trial on Racketeering Charge,” New York Times, February 
21, 1982, p. 6; “Six Croatians Convicted in NY of Plots Against Countrymen,” 
Washington Post, May 16, 1982, p. 12; “6 Croatian Nationalists Given Long 
Prison Terms by Judge,” New York Times, July 4,1982, p. 13; Arnold Lubasch, 
“Use of Racketeering Law Is Barred in Case Against Croatian Terrorists,” New 



336 Source Notes 


York Times , January 27, 1983, p. 5. Croatian terrorists have also been very 
active in Australia and are reported to have been involved in a complex 
scandal involving tacit sponsorship by the Australian Secret Intelligence Orga¬ 
nization (ASIO); see “Australian Police Raid Secret Service,” Washington Star ; 
March 16, 1973, and Joan Coxsedge, “One, Two, Three—Ustasha Are We!” 
Melbourne (Australia) Unitarian Peace Memorial Church Pamphlet No. 1, 
1972. 


Chapter Fourteen 

1. Virtually all National Security Council documentation concerning NSC 86, 
NSCID 13, and NSCID 14 remains classified. Brief declassified discussions of 
the status and general program of these decisions can be found, however, at 
National Security Council, Status of Projects Report, for January 18, and 30, 

1950 (p. 2); March 13, 1950 (p. 1); October 2, 1950 (p. 4); October 16, 1950 (p. 
14); October 23, 1950 (pp. 14-15); November 20, 1950 (pp. 15-16); February 
26,1951 (p. 14); March 26, 1951 (pp. 11-12); April 2,1951 (pp. 9-10); April 23, 

1951 (p. 1); July 28, 1952 (p. 3); August 11, 1952 (p. 1). A small collection of 
heavily sanitized correspondence and memos concerning NSC 86 was 
released following an FOIA request by the author. Of this group, see particu¬ 
larly “Memorandum for the Ad Hoc Committee on NSC 86, Subject: U.S. 
Policy on Defectors,” February 8, 1951 (top secret), with attachments, and 
Franci